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Richard Jolley making glass installation for KMA

Post Time:Mar 19,2012Classify:Company NewsView:342

Dozens of blown glass birds created in hues of ebony wing forever in flight.


Clear glass thistles, each about the size of a fist, shine on slender, 12-foot-tall trees.


Larger-than-life human figures of glass and steel stand or recline.

 China Glass Network

Birds, trees and human forms are glimpses of a multiyear work Knoxville artist Richard Jolley is creating for the Knoxville Museum of Art. Come 2014, this glass-and-metal narrative of a life cycle will be exhibited permanently 11 feet above the floor of the museum's Great Hall overlooking World's Fair Park.


In his West Knoxville studio, Jolley and six employees are constructing the installation that will total 180 running feet as it covers the hall's long interior wall and some of its ceiling. Museum officials say the as yet untitled work will be among the largest glass installations in the United States and a transforming piece for the museum at World's Fair Park. "I think it will change everything," says KMA Executive Director David Butler.


The artistic accomplishment also is a technical feat. While glass is often thought of as lightweight, Jolley estimates the finished work will weigh about 7.5 tons. All but one part — a 22-foot-tall "tree of life " — will be far above eye level.


The idea for the installation began when Butler and Jolley began talking about doing "something" for the white-walled, multi-windowed Great Hall. "It always felt very empty to me, like it wanted to have something in it," Butler says.


The piece is a gift from Steve and Ann Bailey of Knoxville. They donated $1 million for the work; Steve Bailey is a former chair of the museum board. The Baileys' only direction to Jolley was simple.


"The only charge they gave him is when they walk into the Great Hall they want to say, 'Wow,' " says artist Tommie Rush, who is Jolley's wife. While Jolley isn't revealing all his plans, what visitors to his studio have seen supports the "wow" factor. The installation will tell its story in a procession that incorporates what Jolley calls six earth icons along with a seventh piece of imagery representing the sky. He defines the earth elements as "primordial," "emergence," "flight," "desire," the "tree of life" and "contemplation."

Source: www.knoxnews.comAuthor: shangyi

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