The Botanical Series by Victor Chiarizia demonstrates his mastery in two distinct glass disciplines: glassblowing combined with an intricate flameworking process. The sculptures express an aesthetic and technical presence that reveals Chiarizia’s expertise in blown glass, a career that spans over thirty years.
With each sculpture in the series, Chiarizia invites viewers into the gardens of his mind, where eyes peer out from blossoms, and where skulls dangle off vines like grapes ripening in the sun. The sculptures’ imaginative imagery is achieved with flameworked glass that clings to a ruggedly organic blown glass vessel. While most flameworked glass is transparent, Chiarizia instead uses multiple applications of vitreous fired-on enamels to render blossoms, human hands, leaves and other elements rich in color and luminosity.
Nature, fantasy, and the subconscious mind inspire Chiarizia in his work. His fondness for botanicals stems from his Italian heritage. Childhood memories of fig trees and flowers bursting open in a summer garden have given way to a wondrous new genre of glass sculptures such as My Father’s Figs and Gaia in the Night Sky (2002 NICHE Award). Provocative sculptures such as Emergence of the Maker (2001 NICHE Award), the startling Past Lives with Skullberries (published in Contemporary Glass: Color Light and Form / Guild Publishing), and The Optimist (2004, New Glass Review 25 Award) are visual narratives of humanity and convey emotions through gestural imagery. Chiarizia’s boundless imagination and exploration of surrealism and fantasy come together in fantastic and abstract sculptures such as The Enigma of Fulfillment (2004, Museum of Art and Design Award).
The organic aspect of the Botanical series serves as a metaphor for life, including the potential for growth and renewal. “Each sculpture reveals its own story. In my imagination, I journey to a place where dark passages lead to splendid beauty. My sculptures are the discoveries; living, breathing creations that often take on human characteristics. The lines between nature, humankind, and fantasy have been blurred and the deeper I explore, the more wonderful the world becomes.” says the artist.
From both technical and aesthetic points of view, Victor Chiarizia’s Botanical Sculptures have impacted the contemporary glass movement and are considered important work in American art glass.
The Legends and Icons Series by Victor Chiarizia demonstrates his mastery in three distinct glass disciplines: glassblowing, casting and intricate lampworking processes. The sculptures express an aesthetic and technical presence that reveals Chiarizia’s expertise in glass, a career that spans over thirty years.
With each sculpture in the series, Chiarizia invites viewers on a courageous journey through eternal gardens of myth, where lush vines climb up colossal banyan trees enveloping ancient relics. The sculptures’ exuberant imagery is achieved through fusing a cast glass visage directly to a robust blown glass vessel. An assemblage of variegated molten vines are then draped across the surface of the sculpture. The sculpture is then sand carved and acid etched to create its satin surface. Finally, lampworked flora and other elements are created specifically for each unique sculpture. Chiarizia individually sculpts each piece of clear glass and then applies multiple layers of vitreous enamels to their surface. The enameled hands, orchids or bones are then attached to the blown sculpture. The fruit of all of these processes results in sculpture that is a complex combination of diverse techniques and aesthetic allegory.
This series explores how the passage of time distorts perceptions of legends and icons. “Symbols of iconic figures endure, though perceptions of them may change. At what point is the line blurred when heroes or villains become legends and icons and do we really know who our icons were or are we filling in the blanks of lost identities?”, says the artist.
From both technical and aesthetic points of view, Victor Chiarizia’s Legends and Icons sculptures have impacted the contemporary glass movement and are considered important work in American art glass.
The Incalmo Series by Victor Chiarizia demonstrates his mastery in blown glass. The incalmo technique was developed by Venetian master glassblowers approximately 500 years ago and has traditionally been used to create horizontal bands of color in blown glass. It involves making “cups” of colored glass which are connected together. A variation of the technique, known as reverse incalmo, involves piercing a hole on the side of the assembled cups and attaching them to another blow pipe. The artist then gathers more glass and forms the piece into the desired shape. Incalmo is a technically complex and physically demanding technique to use. An artist must be a proficient glassblower and dedicated to the process in order to master it.
Victor Chiarizia has adapted the reverse incalmo technique to create vertical and diagonal bands of color in his work. His innovative use of a traditional process expresses an aesthetic and technical presence that reveals Chiarizia’s expertise in blown glass, a career that spans over thirty years. The organic, flowing curves in this body of work, woven with vibrant colors, create alluring, luminous sculpture.