Sandra Ainsley Gallery continues to celebrate our 30th anniversary with an exhibition of new work by Toots Zynsky, who is known internationally as one of the pioneering and most innovative voices in the contemporary art glass movement. Born in Boston, and raised in Massachusetts she earned her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1973. In 1971, she assisted Chihuly and others in the founding and early development of Pilchuck Glass School.
From 1980- 83, she was a key participant in the re-building and development of the second New York Experimental Glass Workshop, now UrbanGlass. While living in Europe from 1983-1999, she developed her renowned and unique “filet-de-verre” technique. To make her vessels, Zynsky first layers thousands of multicolored Murano glass threads onto a round heat-resistant fiberboard plate. For her, this part of the process is like drawing or painting. This mass of glass threads is then fused inside a kiln. While hot, the fused thread disk is allowed to slowly slump into a series of consecutively deeper and rounder preheated bowl-shaped metal forms. To make taller vessels, the piece is turned upside down and slumped over a cone-shaped mold. Finally, Zynsky reaches into the kiln, wearing special heat-resistant gloves, and she squeezes the glass into a unique undulating form. “When I was working with slump glass in 1971 to ’72, there was very little in the literature about it,” she says. “I wasn’t interested in just letting it happen.” She experimented and developed new techniques. “There are very few accidents in my work,” she explains. “I had to solve the technical part in order to make what I wanted to make.” Today she uses her knowledge and her skill and also allows her fingertips and her unconscious mind to form work of seemingly effortless beauty. Zynsky’s first solo exhibition in Canada will take place at Sandra Ainsley Gallery in Toronto, March 28 through May 12.
Toots Zynsky has been the recipient of many awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts Grants, as well as The Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts, and recently elected to the prestigious American Craft Council College of Fellows. Her work is represented in over 70 museum collections around the world.