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IS 152, Veiled Moon

 

Mark Peiser

Mark Peiser was born in Chicago, and was initially trained in industrial design at the Illinois Institute of Technology—Chicago, graduating in 1961. He then studied music at DePaul University, but following a summer class in glass blowing at the Penland School of Crafts in South Carolina, he decided to focus on the art of glass. His background in industrial design led to experiments with the chemistry and technique of glass colors, leading to the invention of new processes and methods adapted for artists’ use in the studio.

In 1972 Peiser and Fritz Dreisbach co-organized the first Glass Art Society conference at the Penland School of Crafts as a way for artists working in different regions of the United States to share technical and philosophical approaches to glass art. He has received a series of honors and recognitions for his achievements: in 1988, Peiser was elected an Honorary Fellow of the American Craft Council; in 2001, he became an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Glass Art Society; and in 2004, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass.

IS 152, Veiled Moon

Process

Peiser is part of the first generation of artists to work with glass as a specifically non-functional, artistic medium comparable to sculpture. He is an inventor of processes for making his works and the Art Center’s IS 152, Veiled Moon is a typical example of his methods. This object was poured and cast in a mold, then hand-polished to produce the smooth, faceted surface. The imagery is created by pouring molten glass directly into a mold from a crucible. These cast works developed from his desire to move away from the two dominant traditional approaches to working in glass: blowing molten blobs of glass into shapes like bowls or vases, and the techniques used in creating paperweights where a blob of glass is worked in similar ways to blown glass, but remains a lumpen form.

Donor

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. James L. Hartje

Historical Context

Peiser works in a serial fashion, organizing his works into series that can take more than ten years to complete. IS 152, Veiled Moon is part the Innerspace series that Peiser produced between 1983 and 1997, ultimately comprising more than 750 sculptures. IS 152, Veiled Moon is a prismatic block of glass that reveals a dark, smoky ball surrounded by veils of color.

The Innerspace series was Peiser’s fist mature series of works. The central imagery of this series is the landscape. In IS 152, Veiled Moon what is visible is a night sky where a round form is both defined and masked by thin drifts of smoky color. These are the “veils” of the title. They create the impression of a harvest moon—orange—in a dusk sky where the landscape below is implied rather than present. Landscape is an important metaphor for Peiser, referring to internal spaces of contemplation and meditation rather than to specifically exterior places. This concern with internal states rather than external reality is a common theme of abstract and semi-abstract art in the twentieth century.

The processes and methods that Peiser developed in making this series are also of historical importance since glass is most often produced using industrial methods in large commercial factories. Peiser adapted and invented new methods specifically for use by a single artist working in a small, private studio—in essentially the same ways that painters and sculptors will generally work. This shift from large-scale commercial industrial processes to small studio-oriented ones enabled a basic change in approach and technique in glass art, thus allowing its transformation from an art made inside commercially-oriented facilities to the aesthetically dominated space of the artist’s studio.