Springfield, Ohio – Wittenberg University welcomes glass artist Michael Rozell, who will present a free, public lecture on glass blowing techniques and processes at 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 2, in Kissell Auditorium in Koch Hall.
An opening reception for the artist's exhibit titled "Soffiari" will follow the lecture in the Ann Miller Gallery. Sponsored by the Department of Art, the exhibit will remain through Friday, April 3. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
A contemporary glass artist from Columbus, Ohio, Rozell has been inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, George Nelson, Harry Bertoia and Charles Eames. His pieces are said to be recognizable for their clean lines, soothing, yet vibrant colors and simplicity of form.
Initially taught by renowned glass artist Robert Eickholt, Rozell was also a visiting scholar in The Ohio State University's glass program. With a bachelor's degree in art history, his work is greatly influenced by modern art and design, incorporating aspects of traditional Scandinavian glass, Italian and contemporary American glass into a new unique style. Through the exploration of this quality of glass he hopes to reach new heights in modern glass design.
"Beauty, form, balance and abstraction are the aspects of art on which I focus in my work. These ideals stem from a deep admiration and respect for modern design," Rozell said. "The architects and designers of the American Mid-Century Modern movement brought art to every aspect and object of living. From buildings to forks, they adopted an all-inclusive view of what art could be, what could be art, and how design could improve life. This interest in optics was a key part of the early Swedish glass movement."
His designs appear to float within the glass.
"I must transfer the molten glass from one rod to another several times, while gathering layers of clear between each switch of the axis," he said. "Bubbles are added by either collapsing a blown glass bubble or prodding the glass to create divots, which trap air exactly where I place them."
Each piece is built from the inside out as he layers patterns and colors.
"The process is very physically demanding and requires intense concentration," Rozell said. "The few physical tools employed when creating glass art are the most basic imaginable – a wooden paddle, a metal rod, a wet newspaper and little else. It is the intangible tools that are most important, however.
"Heat, gravity, centrifugal force and the breath from your body – these are the true tools of glass art. It is through these abstractions that I seek to infuse glass objects, both functional and sculptural, with art."
Rozell's exhibit titled "Overlay" was featured in 2008 at The Westcott House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, in Springfield.