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Molten Sensuality: The Crystalline Creations of April Wagner

The new glass exhibit entitled Molten Sensuality:  The Crystalline Creations of April Wagnerat the Saginaw Art Museum brings the fire of epiphany glass studio to mid-Michigan, October 5, 2018 through January 2019.  

The 6,000 sq. ft. exhibit by award-winning glass artist April Wagner serves as a retrospective of her work at epiphany glass studio over more than two decades.  Featuring more than 100 pieces, the exhibit includes a chronological overview of Wagner’s glass artwork from the early Volcano and Splash series, to sculptures and wall pieces, showcasing the evolution of custom installations including chandeliers, wall sculptures and iconic freestanding pieces.  Wagner will create a custom hanging installation for the show, as well as a freestanding sculpture to be revealed.  Collectors will lend their pieces to the exhibit to provide a full overview of the evolution of the glass work. 
 
The show will also include a video component, focused on the glassmaking process.  Here Wagner explores the many ways in which glass can be manipulated through its various phases, using 2,000 degree furnaces, applied pressure, gravity and force to create elegant shapes and vibrant colors. Many of Wagner’s pieces are inspired by her love of nature, and she notes, “Everything in nature is beautifully designed and that design serves a function, color, scale and form.” 
 
“April Wagner is a world-class glass artist and widely recognized for her incredible talent,” said Stacey Gannon, executive director of the Saginaw Art Museum.  “Her exhibition, “Molten Sensuality:  The Crystalline Creations of April Wagner,” is one of the most interesting exhibitions we’ve curated at the museum.  Full of color, texture and illumination – it is not a show to be missed.  I know that visitors will be taken by the beauty and awesomeness of the display.”
 
Wagner studied art and glass at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit; New York Experimental Glass Workshop in Brooklyn; Alfred University in Alfred, New York; and  Interlochen Arts Academy in northwestern Michigan. As an artist, she has been committed to this elegant material since attending college. She opened epiphany studio in Pontiac, Michigan in 1993, where she makes both functional and sculpture works in glass – bridging both fine and decorative art.
 
“In college I discovered molten glass as a material,” said Wagner. “It was love at first sight and in the 24 years since, nothing has changed. Glass captivates me with its seductive allure. In my work I try to capture the fluidity and grace of the glass without over-tooling and marring it. The physical act of creating glass, taking raw material and breathing life into it, defines my place in the universe. Using this material requires skills that take years to master and I am somewhere in the middle of my journey,” shares Wagner.
 
Her work has been featured in Detroit Home Magazine, HOUR Detroit and more, and she made the 40 Under 40 list of the most talented, driven and dynamic professionals under the age of 40 in Crain’s Detroit Business.
 
In her artwork, the vibrant colors, hues and shades of glass combined with the fluidity and flexibility of the medium, come together to provide limitless interpretation of the natural world through glass art.
 
“I am intrigued by the process of blowing glass into linear and organic shapes,” said Wagner.  “Then I play with them in space. By turning, twisting, or repeating the shapes I investigate their relationship to floor, wall, or tabletop. In creating multiples and assembling the shapes together, almost like found objects, I create large scale pieces. I use color to push and pull the eye around or up and down the piece.
 
“My intention is to create objects that are captivating to look at in their environment. Whether a private, public, or corporate space I choose the colors, shapes, and scale of the work in direct response to that specific environment and that viewer. Ultimately the viewer must consider the fragility, strength, and beauty of this material.”
 
A public question and answer session with glass artist April Wagner, owner of epiphany glass studio, will be held on Wed., Oct. 17, from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Saginaw Art Museum.  The public is invited to this free event, and no reservations are required.
 
epiphany glass, www.epiphanyglass.com, is a state-of-the-art, 4,000 sq. ft. glassblowing studio and gallery located in Pontiac, Michigan.  Since 1997, epiphany’s distinctive look has been created by artist and owner April Wagner.  Wagner adds a contemporary twist to the traditional fazzoletto technique, which originated in the Venini factory of Murano, Italy, during the 1930s and was later popularized by Seattle glass artists. Her work is found in many public and private collections, including those of GM, Pfizer, Cobo Center, Strategic Staffing Solutions, Vladimir Putin, Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson.
 
The Saginaw Art Museum is a vibrant arts and cultural resource for Saginaw and the Great Lakes Bay Region. Since 1947, the Museum has brought more than 4,500 years of creativity to the area through visual, auditory and performance arts from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Housed in an historical 1904 Georgian-Revival mansion with Italianate gardens and two award-winning modern wings, the Museum has a permanent collection of art in excess of 2,000 objects, a dynamic exhibition program, a major art reference library, collaborative education programs, and special events. Various levels of membership offer access to the Saginaw Art Museum and its historic gardens as well as reciprocal benefits to more than 800 museums and 300 gardens throughout North America.
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