Page 15 - Dante Marioni Intersections 2021
P. 15

If you have decided to be a master, you must continue to be a student.2
Every glass blower works with an invisible partner: namely, centrifugal force. Because of it, molten glass formed on a turning pipe is essentially symmetrical in three dimensions. A full- shouldered vase, for example, usually exhibits the same curvy profile when seen from front, sides and back. Since early in his career, Marioni has experimented with this visual expectation, having perfected another traditional technique used in Venice since the 1500s. To make the form called a pilgrim’s flask, a rounded shape is compressed on both sides with wooden paddles, a move that brings the vessel’s front and back closer together. All of the works in this show, with the exception of one of Marioni’s reticello acorns, were finished with this technique. Their graceful, full-bodied silhouettes are a kind of illusion; the curved shape seen from the front becomes a narrow column when seen from the side.
The entire process with which each piece is made involves many steps. For the “Maze” series, he first makes the cane, pulling out a mixture of clear, black and a single color of glass, as he would to make reticello. Once the cane has been cut into short pieces, he arranges them in patterns, composing the front and back of each vessel side by side in anticipation of the way the lines will visually intersect and create fantastical moire patterns. Heated in a kiln until it fuses together, the cane is then rolled up into a cylinder and blown out into graceful vase forms. To create works in the “Print” series, several pieces of cane are fused and rolled up into a cylinder. This form is blown out into a plate-like circle called a rondel. The cooled rondel is cut into shapes that, pieced together, will form a vessel with the intricate pieced pattern of curving threads of color characteristic of these pieces.
The distinctive form of works in both of these series recalls the graceful shape of a timeless, classical vase— infused with a strikingly modern verve. Some, like Red Print (2021) or Purple Maze (2021), have high shoulders with a long taper to a delicate base. Others, like Yellow Print (2021), have a more symmetrical oval shape, though all are balanced on an impossibly small, transparent foot, causing them to appear as if they are floating, defying gravity. This impression is made even more startling by their monumental scale. Finally, a long, almost impossibly delicate neck that opens towards the top completes each one, visually balancing the slightly flared foot.
Since the beginning of his career more than three decades ago, Marioni has developed many series, continually experimenting with and incorporating different techniques and design ideas. As he reflected in a recent interview, even the greatest of glass artists might stagnate without such continual self-challenges and growth. Like his earlier monumental wall-sized compositions of multiple goblets or vases, his recent pieces are meant to be seen from the front, much in the same way that we look at a painting. Paradoxically, these works are just as clearly sculptural, requiring a viewer to change positions to fully experience them. In the shallow space of their flattened shapes, the parallel planes of transparent glass interact visually, and moving even slightly causes lines to meet and separate, creating optical illusions that are as magical as they are ephemeral.
Marioni has talked about his interest in American abstract painter Brice Marden, and in particular, the artist’s “Cold Mountain” series. In works dating from between 1988 and 1992, Marden created nets of lively, calligraphic lines, mostly in black, on cream-colored linen. Though spontaneous and intuitive in appearance, there is also a kind of deliberate, meditative thought implied in these paintings. Marioni’s recent work is very different from Marden’s, but he has succeeded in creating a similar sense of spontaneous movement and drawn line, despite the long and complicated process of planning, cutting, assembling and blowing each one.In a very real way,each vessel has become a canvas,on which the patterns of color shift and slip; shadows of color and light, form and disappear.
  2 Turkish contemporary author and playwright Mehmet Murat ildan.
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