May 13 – June 21, 2009
Reception May 13
Empire of Glass illuminates John D’Agostino’s photographs of the Abstract Sublime in the forgotten fragments of the stained glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933).
World-renowned during the age of Art Nouveau (1890-1914), Louis Comfort Tiffany was America’s premier artist and designer of prized stained glass windows. But by the advent of The Great Depression, Tiffany’s work was openly derided as démodé, and readily assigned to trash heap. During the liquidation of Tiffany Studios in 1933, collector Vito D’Agostino (1898-1968) rescued the last fragments of broken glass as they were being smashed and thrown away into the East River.
Discovering his grandfather’s boxes of glass buried in his parent’s basement some 75 years later, New York artist John D’Agostino reconstructs the broken pieces of Tiffany glass into large-scaled abstract photographs of biomorphic form and gestural rhythm.
Iridescent whirls of color preserved within the glass juxtapose with withering foil leaf and detritus on the surface of the glass, forming a joyous synthesis of decay and rebirth.
D’Agostino describes his working aesthetic as an imperative of The Abstract Sublime: the existential search for supernatural content disguised in the remnants of natural phenomena. Coined in 1961 by historian Robert Rosenblum, The Abstract Sublime describes the origins of Abstract Expressionism as a continuation of the sacred realms of the Romantic landscape painting of the 19th Century, from Caspar David Friedrich and Frederick Edwin Church to Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.
Empire of Glass, an exhibition of D’Agostino’s unique photographic vision, will be on display in the Griffin Museum of Photography’s Atelier Gallery, May 13 – June 21st.
A limited edition monograph by the artist will accompany the exhibition.