Pilchuck Glass School
Neon Installation, 2022
Presented by Pilchuck Glass School
Seattle has witnessed the retirement of a number of iconic, neon landmarks throughout the city. Beloved illuminated signs such as the Pink Elephant carwash marquee and other signs ubiquitous at Pike Place Market have gradually diminished from our skyline and urban landscape, replaced by cheaper or more practical substitutes. Yet something new and brilliant is glowing through the dense mists of the Pacific Northwest. The utilitarian tube bending skills of the masters have been passed down to a new generation of artists drawn to the unique qualities of light only achieved through the electrification of noble gases. Unique workshop settings such as Pilchuck Glass School and a proliferation of university neon labs have provided platforms for the opensource sharing of the artistry, aesthetics, and highly technical information required to pull off this science-magic symbiosis.
The selected artists exhibited in the AIG Select VIP Lounge – Jen Elek and Jeremy Bert, Julia Chamberlain, Bri Chesler, Minhi England, KT Hancock, Megan Stelljes, and Sarah Elizabeth Terry – show the diversity of approach and conceptual ends to which this repurposed media has been applied. From bawdy humor and double-edged sexual innuendo to urgent ads for nature’s small wonders to eye pleasing optical treats, these works traverse the range of creative possibilities posed by glowing tubes. As the pieces radiate into space and bathe the audience in a multihued shimmer, the wonder of the experience seeps in and allows for thoughtful contemplation of the subject matter. That this media perfected for commercial signage would have the power to stop a highspeed art patron in their tracks should surprise no one, but these artists have used those spellbinding characteristics and magnetic glow to maximum effect.
Pilchuck Glass School is proud to present this exceptional group of artists, all of whom have honed their skills on our campus and contributed their knowledge and perspectives to our programs and residencies. As a bastion of this craft and a cauldron of its evolution, we look forward to witnessing and supporting its future for many years to come.