You can see work by George Ponzini and Larry Simons at stop #6 on our tour!
George Ponzini’s Biography
George Ponzini, an internationally recognized glass artist, creates functional and sculptural pieces with an uncommon style of assemblage. Architecture, art deco and modern art influence his lively work that he calls ‘Neo-Deco’. Engaging and elegant, George’s glass includes sculpture, stemware, martini pitchers, candlesticks, perfume bottles, bowls, mirrors, bud vases, sconces, shelves and even custom chess sets, tables and chandeliers. Stunning composites of slumped and constructed elements juxtapose with free form and geometric shapes ingeniously. Abstract and complex, George’s built pieces weave together modern and post-modern sensibilities to highlight glass’s color and light. Echoes of 20th century art deco and architecture deepen his work’s meaning, but his style also heralds futuristic urban design. For over thirty-eight years, George’s built
structures of glass planes have defiantly departed from traditional glass art.
Methods and Materials
George approaches designing with the loosest of concepts, relying on his
relationship with the material and his ability to stay open to an evolutionary, organic exchange. “I enjoy the spontaneity of the design process -the climax being when the last piece of colored or textured glass brings the design together creating the final piece -a three dimensional collage.”
History and Influences
George found glass art at New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce College in 1974.
“Taking my first stained glass course on a whim was my introduction to glass. I was always intrigued with the stained glass windows in church as a child.” Soon he was learning stained glass and furniture design at Virginia University’s Arts School of Crafts in. His current style was influenced by his studies at Pilchuck Glass Center and at North Carolina’s Penland School of Crafts. From Sonja Blomdahl at Pilchuck, George deepened his understanding of “the importance of a unique color sensibility” that infuses his work.* “I’m still fascinated with glass itself. As a medium, glass has seemingly endless possibilities. Even after 30 years I am still conceiving new ideas: a dining room table, bathroom accessories and a table lamp.” Other influences are his urban childhood and travels abroad. “My work is definitely founded in my urban roots in Yonkers and NYC. I was fascinated with the city’s art deco
buildings and modern architecture. More recently, on a trip to Milan, I was
inspired by Italian contemporary design.”
Galleries and Exhibits
George Ponzini’s work is in galleries, notable exhibits and collections in the US , Europe and Japan: The Glasmuseum in Ebeltoft , Denmark, The Renwick
Gallery, Vassar College, Nicolaysen Art Museum, and The International Exibition of Glass Craft in Kanazawa, Japan. George has served on the faculty of the Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has been a Vermont Council of the Arts Fellowship Recipient, and he earned a Grodin Award for Excellence in Design and Craftsmanship.
For more information, visit georgeponzini.com
In 1965 I began making sculptures on Cape Cod with leather scraps from the sandal shop where I worked. When I moved west two years later, I visited the Watts towers in Los Angeles and the junk assemblages in the mud flats across the bay from San Francisco and my eyes opened to the art materials that are everywhere which I began turning into whimsical constructions on empty lots and beaches.
I love old ramshackle wooden structures with their lean-tos and additions, especially barns with weathered gray siding and red trim. Rather than re-coloring anything, I prefer to work with the palette I find – so I always have an eye out for broken down farm buildings from which I can scavenge fragments.
While living in the west, I fell in love with the raw beauty of the mountains and the desert. I was particularly drawn to unrestored ghost towns and the remnants of the mines they had grown up around where I found rusted metal with a reddish tone not seen in damper climates and deeply grained shards of wood which had hardened with age in the dry air.
Driftwood is one of my favorite collectibles, especially painted pieces which have been tumbled to perfection. A recycler by nature, virtually everything I use in my art has had a previous life – bobbins, chair spindles, tool handles, toys, croquet sets and wooden patterns from steel mills-most of which is brought to me by packrat-types who enjoy seeing what I do with their treasures. Bits and pieces of things that are fun to look at are spread throughout my studio so I can see as many as possible at a glance. I constantly move them around making different combinations on my worktables until I’m satisfied with an assemblage. A visual version of perfect pitch seems to guide me as I tweak a piece to completion.
My fondness for the rustic is reflected in my lifestyle which includes living in an early period style house I designed and built on a piece of property carved out of the woods to accommodate my earth-bound efforts at landscaping, poultry/game bird farming and forest management.
As an importer of handcrafts and artifacts, antique Asian furniture and natural-dyed Oriental rugs, my business has meshed nicely with other aspects of my life having furnished me with the resources to constantly rearrange my surroundings to suit my evolving tastes. I wouldn’t be able to stop fiddling with my environment if I wanted to.
A meeting of passion and profession have brought me a sense of harmony and fulfillment that was years in the making – a testament to the notion that it is never too late to nurture the creative spirit and drive that is inherent in all of us.
The idea that art arises out of need, lack and deprivation hit home for me the first time I drove through Glenwood Canyon in Colorado. Who needs sculpture when you can look at this, I remember thinking. But as soon as it was out of sight a desire arose in me to fill the void.