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Psychedelic Mania: Stephen Rolfe Powell’s Dance with Glass

October 06 through January 06, 2013

The work of Alabama-native Stephen Rolfe Powell, an internationally recognized master glass artist, was highlighted in a retrospective exhibition organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts as a part of the national celebration of the fiftieth-anniversary of the American Studio Glass movement.

Powell’s work employs a traditional Italian murrine technique, incorporating thousands of tiny beads of vibrant color that he blows and stretches into suggestive, anthropomorphic shapes. His inventive handling of blowing, swinging and torching the molten glass, combined with tongue-in-cheek titles, offer a fresh departure from conventional glass vessels.

With 80 works by Powell, all compiled from his personal reserve collection, the exhibition focused on Powell’s oversized blown glass vessels and asymmetrical sculptures. Primarily drawn from his Teasers, Whacko and Screamer series, made between 1988 and 2011, the exhibition also included the early ceramic works and glass prototypes that convey Powell’s artistic development.


Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Joan Loeb, Corinna and Barry Wilson, Loree and Owen Aronov and Teri Aronov, Linda and Larry Puckett, Arts Alliance for Contemporary Glass, Dawn and Adam Schloss, Servisfirst Bank, and Winifred and Charles A. Stakely.


Publication Date: October 12, 2007
213 pages
$55 plus tax
An illustrated chronicle of Powell’s glass-blowing career, this hardcover book charts the evolution of Powell’s remarkable body of work. Dazzling photographic close-ups detail the luminous murrini patterns that have become Powell’s signature and reveal new ways of appreciating the complex interplay of color and texture in his art. Biographical and analytical essays by Mark Lucas, Laurie Winters, and James Yood explore such topics as the teamwork that is critical to Powell’s unique glass making process; his teaching and learning experiences on the road, from the former Soviet Union to Salt Lake City during the Olympics; and the story of the two freak injuries that deeply affected his work and how he thinks about it.



Photography of installation at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts