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John Hogan's Menagerie

July 06, 2019
By: Aaron Peasley

"the idea behind [Menagerie] was to get back to sketching three-dimensionally. By working smaller I’m able to approach ideas more loosely and freely without the burden of time and cost slowing my considerations.”

One never knows what to expect from a new John Hogan collection. Having experimented with larger-scale furniture sized pieces, including a limited edition of glass tables, Hogan has reversed course presenting “Menagerie,” a hypnotic new range of diminutively sized glass pieces. According to the artist: "the idea behind [Menagerie] was to get back to sketching three-dimensionally. By working smaller I’m able to approach ideas more loosely and freely without the burden of time and cost slowing my considerations.”

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‘Menegarie’ continues Hogan’s examination of glass as a chief creative medium and solidifies his position as one of the most exciting glass artists working today. The shift to smaller, more intricate works - which emphasizes a rigorous production process - signals a return to Hogan’s roots when he was an emerging glassmaker studying at the esteemed Toledo Art Museum. “[mentor and fellow glass artist] Therman Statom taught me to put simple rules around creative sessions or bodies of work to aid in focus and efficiency,” Hogan explains. “Things like time or scale limits can help in focusing and freeing the creative process. During my time working with him, we would start every session by making 30 drawings in 20 minutes. The outcomes of that exercise really changed my ideas of designing creative systems.”

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The latest collection, made in a range of processes including hot cast, kiln cast, hot sculpted, and cold worked glass, features exquisitely proportioned pieces that emphasize 3-dimensionality and can be easily admired in the round. Each singular piece within Menagerie stands alone as art in its own right, yet the work can be grouped and showcased in an endless variety of ways. “Often an arrangement of objects is stronger than any individual object would be on its own. Hopefully, the range of ideas, the scale, and price point will allow collectors to consider groupings and pairings of their liking,” Hogan says.

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In less than a decade, Seattle-based Hogan has built a career as one of the world’s most collectible artists working with glass. Today, his highly collectible objects, which include furniture, vessels and sculpture, continue to draw influence from a variety of sources - from astronomy to ancient history. Regardless of its scale or inspiration, a John Hogan work can always be relied upon to push the boundaries of an ancient material. “Glass is a craft-based medium and I enjoy exploring the nuanced traditions within its history,” Hogan says, adding “this exercise has been a kind of mindfulness practice within my normal creative workflow.”

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