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Glass professor to share art in New Zealand
7/17/13

Angus Powers, associate professor of glass at Alfred University (AU), is set to bring his avant-garde sculpture and an old world appreciation for functional glassware to New Zealand as guest lecturer at the 2013 International Neon Workshop in Auckland later this month.

The summer seminar is sponsored by Neon Workshops, a working and educational studio based in West Yorkshire, Great Britain. Established in 2008, Neon Workshops aims to expose, explore, and teach neon as a method of expression and cultural production, as well as confront common limitations of the material. Neon Café in West Auckland is host for the 2013 program where Powers will present July 25-28.

Powers was a clear choice for the position.

His neon and glass works explore technology and the affects of its pursuit on human nature. In understanding the relationship between people and technology Powers has striven with projects such as “Roman Furnace” and “Glass in Space” to better know glass as a medium with both a crucial history and brilliant future of endless possibilities.

In his most recent endeavors, Powers has focused on being both a contemporary glass sculptor and a potter of glass.

 “It is a significant moment for me that my interest in teaching ancient glass technologies aligns with a new series of work I have planned based on principles rooted in Roman glass,” said Powers.

Perhaps one his greatest accomplishments on campus may be the personal construction and installation of a Roman-style furnace, which he now uses to teach his students. Powers attributes his ever-growing appreciation for utilitarian glassware to a visiting artist residency served at Copenhagen’s Danish Design School, where much greater emphasis on usability is learned and accounted for.

“Although I will continue my use of large and small glass sculptures in my own work, I have recently decided to devote a great amount of my research to understanding the virtues of function and utility, as a directive for a parallel body of work. I am embracing the term ‘glass potter’ and am looking to strengthen the glass design element within our (AU’s) curriculum with this research.” 

While much of his latest interest has been devoted to building into his artistic foundation a concept of “glass potter,” much of Powers’ work is devoted to creating adroit manipulations of his medium.

Powers’ glass sculptures are characterized by finesse, balancing the use of neon throughout his pieces against the greater conceptualization of the work. His technique results in a quirky combination of attention-grabbing humor and sensibility. Powers’ artistic dynamism pushes viewers of his work to interact the sculptures on multiple levels of understanding.