‘Material World’ is stained glass for the masses | TribLIVE.com
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‘Material World’ is stained glass for the masses

Mary Pickels
Russell Johnson
Artist Morgan Peterson works on her piece "Once Upon a Crime," which she will exhibit in March at the Pittsburgh Glass Center.
Artist Morgan Peterson’s work includes portraying addictions common to life in contemporary society. She will exhibit in the Pittsburgh Glass Center’s "Material World" show.
A piece from Seattle artist Morgan Peterson’s series “Modern Day Faberge” is included in the March Pittsburgh Glass Center’s “Material World” exhibit.
Shown are two works from the upcoming “Material World” exhibit at the Pittsburgh Glass Center from exhibiting artists Hyesook Choi, left, and Joseph Cavalieri.
New York City artist Joseph Cavalieri’s hand-painted stained glass work based on “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” will be part of the Pittsburgh Glass Center’s “Material World” exhibit in March.
South Korean artist Hyesook Choi designed this piece of art, which will be part of the Pittsburgh Glass Center’s "Material World" exhibit in March.
Among the characters New York glass artist Joseph Cavalieri features Willie from ”The Simpsons.”

The concepts of consumerism, luxury, obsession and materialism are not new in society. They are, though, concepts that can cause discomfort and self-examination, if pondered closely.

Six artists aim to do exactly that with the new exhibition, “Material World,” opening with a free reception from 6-9 p.m. March 1 and running through May 12 at the Pittsburgh Glass Center.

Stained glass for the masses

Joseph Cavalieri of New York City expects to show about a dozen pieces in the exhibit. The hand-painted stained glass panels are based on illustrations from Lewis Carroll’s 1865 classic “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” He updates the story, he says, by giving Alice blue hair and fast-forwarding her into present day New York City.

Instead of playing cards and teapots, Alice is pictured with Hostess Cupcakes, Campbell’s mushroom soup, smoking cigarettes, even texting white rabbits. “It’s a comment about people texting too much,” Cavalieri says.

Formerly in the publishing business, Cavalieri began producing art work a dozen years ago. Cavalieri enjoys updating the characters populating his pieces while not straying from the history of stained glass as storytelling. He also, he says, likes to make people laugh.

Characters from the long-running animated television comedy “The Simpsons” also show up in his work.

A few years ago, he says, a show writer visited his studio. “I thought he is either going to buy a piece or arrest me,” Cavalieri says, laughing.

Happily, it was the former.

Cavalieri, who has taught several classes at the glass center, will offer a free lecture on marketing for artists at the center 6 p.m. March 15.

Art as commentary

Seattle glass artist Morgan Peterson will show four pieces for “Material World.”

She works primarily as a glassblower for Chihuly Inc., and teaches and does commission work from her Harbor Island studio.

A current series is called “Modern Day Fabergé,” referencing the intricately decorated eggs created for the Russian Imperial family with the glory and tragic fate of deceased pop culture icons. Depicted artists include Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and David Bowie.

The Pittsburgh show will include “The Twin Portraits,” egg, featuring fictional character Laura Palmer from the popular 1990s television series “Twin Peaks.”

A large exhibit, “Once Upon a Crime,” consists of “hundreds and hundreds” of pieces Peterson will assemble upon her arrival in Pittsburgh.

The piece references a deal by American business Martin Shkreli, who paid $2 million for a single copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album in 2015. Shkreli later was ordered by a judge to forfeit the album as part of a seizure of his assets following his securities fraud conviction.

“It’s a commentary on society and where we stand, corporate greed and corruption and power,” Peterson says.

Among her work are pieces featuring prescription pill bottles and razor blades, portraying the issue of addiction.

“I hope to evoke in the viewer the disquiet and disturbance that our addictions — religion, consumerism, drug use — bring out in me,” she says.

“It’s very exciting to be part of this exhibit. It’s a very modern take on the material. Everyone in the show does different things. I haven’t seen this type of glass work in a show before,” Peterson says.

Peterson hopes to play tourist a bit during her first visit to Pittsburgh as an adult. She’s looking forward to seeing the Andy Warhol Museum and the Mattress Factory.

Additional exhibitors

Also showing will be Karina Guevin and Cédric Ginart, glass artists from Quebec, Canada, who will present traditional Venetian blown-glass goblets telling timeless tales such as “The Ugly Duckling.”

South Korean artist Hyesook Choi uses every day items including purses and shoes to depict the younger generation’s obsession with outward appearance. Her series “Relics” shows how she imagines early 21st-century relics of beauty will be viewed far in the future.

Slate Grove, a resident of Indiana, expresses hypocrisy he sees in the current social and political landscapes with “Designer Beliefs.”

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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