by Melanie Long
Formative is an exhibition at the Leighton Centre, which, through rich visualization, explores the idea that places of close community foster creative careers and inspire great work. The focus is on art created at Firebrand Glass Studio, begun by artists Julia Reimer and Tyler Rock, a place of artistic evolution which has fostered the careers of over a dozen young artists over the past 20 years. As such, Firebrand has been key in the development of Alberta’s dynamic glass art community. While creating their own award-winning work, Rock and Reimer have mentored up and coming artists and created a space for all interested persons to explore art glass.
Formative will showcase sculptural work which explores a diverse range of themes; work made by Reimer, Rock, and four of their studio assistants: Katherine Russell, Beth Cartwright, Melanie Long, and Jamie Gray.
The opening on September 27th at the Leighton Centre, from 1-3pm will offer insight into both the concepts and technical processes to create the exhibited work. Viewers can listen to the artists discuss their pieces at the Centre, and then travel to Firebrand Glass to see demonstrations from 11-1pm and 3-5pm on how the pieces are created.
Formative has a double meaning. The artists shape and form glass to create the work that is in the show, akin to how they have been shaped and influenced by their time spent at Firebrand. The exhibition will highlight specific ideologies, such as diverging points of view, nature’s slow reclamation of her land, and serendipitous daily encounters.
Although the work in the exhibition theme expresses locality and its creative dynamic, each of the artists has an international reputation. Rock and Reimer were finalists in the prestigious Ranamok International Art Prize in Australia, Long was an assistant at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio in Virginia, Gray is the winner of the Bullseye e-merge Academic Award in the USA and, Russell has a received a Canada Council for the Arts Award.