**Concurrent with New Albany Bicentennial Public Art Project Kickoff and Art Walk**
New Albany has a long relationship with glass and, in honor of that tradition, the Carnegie Center for Art & History presents the exhibition Phase Change: Works in Glass by C. Matthew Szösz, on display May 21-July 10, 2010. This exhibit coincides with the Glass Art Society Annual Conference in Louisville (June 10-12) and is one of many exhibitions of glass that will be on display in the New Albany and greater Louisville area during the conference. Phase Change: Works in Glass by C. Matthew Szösz and the opening reception for this exhibit are sponsored by the Carnegie Center, Inc.
Born in Rhode Island, Matthew Szösz has received a BFA, a BID (Industrial Design), and a MFA (Glass) from Rhode Island School of Design. He has worked professionally in art and art related fields in Rhode Island, New Mexico and California for the last twelve years. Recently he has received the Pilchuck Scholarship, a Stein Fund Grant, and the Award of Excellence in Graduate Studies from RISD. He was an Emerging Artist in Residence at Pilchuck in 2007, and a Wheaton Fellow in 2008. He won the 2009 Jutta Cuny-Franz Memorial Award, becoming the second American ever to do so. In the spring of 2010 he was an artist in residence at Nagoya Institute for the Arts and taught a workshop at Toyama Glass Institute, both in Japan. He is currently the Artist in Residence at Virginia Commonwealth University’s division of Craft/Material Studies for 2009-2010.
Of this exhibit, Szösz writes, “The title Phase Change refers to the shift undergone by materials as they move from one state of matter to another—liquid to solid, gas to liquid. This change is the primary concern of many glass workers—blowing, casting, bending, drawing all rely on the transition of glass to a liquid malleable state and back again to solid form. The work presented in this exhibition is the direct result of experimentation and investigation into that change; it is an attempt to freeze for examination that moment, the moment wherein the material undergoes change, both in shape and state.” He continues, “My work is created by employing ready-made material, most often common window glass, as a tool for the investigation of material behavior. It is heated to a point of flexibility, subjected to acute force, and quickly solidified. The resulting forms are created partly by my manipulation, and partly by the physical response of the glass to stresses placed on it… a carefully planned and assembled experiment is prepared, and then submitted to physics for sudden, violent, often unpredicted results.”
New Albany’s relationship with glass goes back to 1865, when John B. Ford opened his New Albany Glass Works. Ford’s innovations transformed New Albany and glassmaking. The city was the beneficiary of the contributions of skilled craftsmen, who came from England, Belgium and the eastern United States to work at the glass works and many other New Albany businesses benefitted from the success of the glass works. The exhibition Phase Change focuses on transformation as well, specifically the moment of physical and material shifts that change a material into another form, and back again. Carnegie Center Curator Karen Gillenwater explains, “Transformation fascinates us—who hasn’t made a balloon out of a rubber glove or a puppet out of a sock. We are driven to imagine what could be and to invent ways to make our dreams reality. Matthew Szösz takes transformation to a new level by turning sheets of glass that were destined to become windows we would look through into works of art with brilliant colors, intricate patterns and fascinating shapes that we can’t pull our eyes away from. The plate-glass industry transformed New Albany as Szösz transforms simple, flat sheets of plate glass into expressive works of art.”