Lightness of Being – New Sculpture – Howard Ben Tre
September 13, 2014 - January 4, 2015
Internationally-recognized artist Howard Ben Tré debuted his exhibition of industrial, architecturally oriented sculptures in the Pacific Northwest at Museum of Glass from September 13, 2014 through January 4, 2015. Creating a forest of vertical shapes, Ben Tré returned to his sculptural roots with Lightness of Being – New Sculpture – Howard Ben Tré, which featured cast glass and bronze artworks up to eight feet tall.
Ben Tré first made his mark in Tacoma in 2002 with his public sculpture commission, Water Forest, an outdoor installation of clear acrylic and bronze tubing that spouts water on the Museum’s main plaza. A pioneer in the use of cast glass as a sculptural medium, Ben Tré’s work has been displayed in 39 solo exhibitions across the United States and abroad and is included in over 80 museum and public collections worldwide.
Ben Tré’s debut exhibition at Museum of Glass sought to remind visitors accustomed to watching glassblowing of the equally technical method of casting glass, as explored through architectural abstraction alongside an investigation of the human form. His forest of vertical sculptures in Lightness of Being contained recognizable shapes, such as the lighthouse, obelisk, minaret and totem pole, while also evoking a sense of human form with sensual curves and shapes, deliberately positioned as hips and shoulders.
“Howard Ben Tre’s masterfully lyrical and timeless forms will provide a reflective and contemplative experience for our visitors that is rich in historical reference,” noted Museum of Glass Executive Director Susan Warner.
A focal point in the series was the bubbles trapped in the glass, arrested in their natural inclination to rise. As the glass cooled, they became frozen, hanging in suspension often near the spire, drawing the eye upward and hinting at the connection to the title, the essential lightness that conveys a rising up, a spiritually informed sense of presence.
The exhibition also included several drawings by the artist, whose process often begins with small-scale drawings that gradually become enlarged on paper before being translated in three dimensions.
Image credit: Howard Ben Tré (American, born 1949); Wrapped Light #3/2, 2008; Cast glass, gold leaf and pigmented waxes; 20 x 8 x 8 inches; Courtesy of the artist