Artist's Statement - Ed Kirshner

Like Dr. Frankenstein in his lab, I hover over my glass and gas plasma work, spending many hours mixing, balancing and fine-tuning. Still, the plasma light behaves in a way that I can never completely control. I can change or direct its behavior by varying the pressure and mix of gases, or the frequency and the voltage of the power, but I can never fully predict the detailed effects any of my actions will have. Though frustrating at times, this unpredictability is at the very heart of my work. This is the personality, the mystery, the life that I try to create in my sculpture.

I am inspired by the theories of self-organizing chaos as well as the related concept of emergence. Simply put, the term "self-organizing chaos" refers to the ability of certain seemingly random systems to self organize, self replicate, and behave according to rules that are not readily apparent outside of the system. “Emergence” refers to the appearance of a new phenomenon that has a nature beyond its component parts and is generally not predictable from an analysis of those parts. The effects of these processes are often structured and formal, yet natural and organic with one intriguing example being the sensuous dance of form, light and color of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights.

Determined to express this mysterious structured chaos of dynamic light in an art form, I quickly realized that to capture an Aurora effect down here on Earth would require the use of clear glass containers. Thus, I returned to school at the age of 55 to study glass, neon and gas plasma. To create plasma requires the gas to be ionized. I knew that the electronics of Nikola Tesla could be used for this purpose. Unfortunately, this was not a standard subject taught at art school. So I proceeded to devour everything I could find by and about Tesla as well as to do extensive experimentation with the techniques I discovered.

While most of my work utilizes blown glass forms, I have also developed a simple and inexpensive glass solder that allows the use of utilitarian manufactured glass items as well as heavier studio and cast glass work to serve as vessels for the plasma. Fused together, basic forms can be transformed into transcendent glass and light sculptures.

The structured and abstract form of many of my plasma sculptures derives from my early piece, "Cone of Chaos," which was a Corning Glass Selection for 2000.

It represents the structured and abstract form of many of my subsequent plasma sculptures. The piece is a simple blown glass vessel that allows the plasma light to define its own dynamic geometric patterns that are mesmerizing and interactive with the viewer. Others of my sculpture incorporate glass and plasma components that add intrigue, energy and dynamics to the work. I strive for a formal simplicity in most of my art using finely balanced, responsive, self-organizing plasma that seems to take on a life of its own.

 

STAFF

Ed Kirshner

Tami Etziony

PUBLICATIONS, VIDEOS & AWARDS

 

2013

Fullbright Specialist Program Fellowship, U.S. Department of State, 2013 - 2018

2012

Glass Art Society News, Vol 23, Issue 6, "Social Programs: Future Generations"

          Glass Alliance of Northern California (GLANC) Artist Spotlight

2010 

Contemporary Lampworking Volume III, Bandhu Dunham

2009

KTVU (Video), New Downtown Oakland Art Gallery by The Crucible

World Art Glass Quarterly, Volume 5, "Happy One Year Anniversary to Us"

2007

World Art Glass Quarterly, Volume 2, "Between Randomness and Chaos with Ed Kirshner"

2006

Plasma Glass Light in Motion (Video), Bernd Weinmayer & Ed Kirshner

2005

25 Years of New Glass Review, The Corning Museum of Glass

2003

Formed of Fire: Contemporary Selections in Lampworked Glass, Bandhu Dunham, Ed.

A Celebration of Glass, Kenneth Von Roenn, Jr. Ed. Butler Books

2001

Neues Glas Magazine, February Issue, “Artists and Objects”

2000

Corning New Glass Review 22, Annual Selection

1999

Gl’Art, Hsinchu International Art Glass Festival Catalog

1966  B. of Arch. with Honors and the AIA Gold Medal, University of California,      Berkeley, CA

GALLERIES AND INSTALATIONS

Habatat Gallery, Royal Oak, MI

di Rosa Fine Art Preserve, Napa, CA

Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland, CA

Louisville Visual Art Association, Louisville, KY

Float Gallery, Oakland, CA

Luniverre Gallery, Cordes sur Ciel, France

Swiss Science Center, Technorama, Winterthur, Switzerland

Glass Art/ Glaskunst Galerie, Innsbruck, Austria

The Crucible Gallery, Oakland, CA

Museum of Neon Art, Glandale, CA

Bergstrom Mahler Museum of Glass, Neenah, WI

 


EXHIBITIONS

          2015

          10th Annual Fire & Light: Soiree and Art Auction, The Crucible,

          Oakland,  CA

        

         Adams and Chittenden Scientific Glass Spring Show, Berkeley, CA

  oast!

2014

          Adams and Chittenden Scientific Glass Spring Show, Berkeley, CA

        

          It's Alive! Iluminated Art Show, Float Gallery, Oakland CA

          Collector's Studio Tour, Habatat Gallery Royal Oak, MI

         

          Enlighten Glass @ Chicago GAS, Glass Art Society Conference, Chicago, IL

          Clay & Glass, Healdsberg Center for the Arts, Healdsberg, CA

          Crucible 15th Anniversary: Soiree and Art Auction, The Crucible

          Oakland, CA

2013

8th Annual Fire & Light: Soiree and Art Auction, The Crucible, Oakland, CA

Fire & Sand, Mesa Arts Center, Mesa, AZ

2012

Individual Artist Workshop, Bernd Weinmayer Studios, Tirol, Austria

Fire & Sand, Mesa Arts Center, Mesa, AZ

California College of the Arts, Alumni Show, Oakland, CA

David Ruth Open Studio, Oakland, CA

Alumni Show, Glass Department, California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA

Bluebeard's Castle, San Francisco Symphony After Hours,

Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA

American Mavericks, San Francisco Symphony After Hours, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA

The Science of Art, The Crucible Open House, Oakland, CA

San Francisco Symphony After Hours, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA

2011

Inferno, A Fire Circus.  The Crucible, Oakland, CA

Generations:  Selection from the Kirshner Family of Artists, Friedkin Art Gallery at Contra Costa Jewish Community Center, Walnut Creek, CA

MONA@30, Museum of Neon Art, Los Angeles, CA

Sacred Terrain, Float Art Gallery, Oakland, CA

Fire & Light Soiree, The Crucible, Oakland, CA

Fire & Light Art Auction , The Crucible, Oakland, CA

2010

Heat, A Fire Cabaret, The Crucible, Oakland, CA

Ne10:  Illuminated GLass Sculpture, Louisville Visual Art Association, Lousiville, KY

Yuri's Night, NASA's Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA

2009

Larry Albright Retrospective & Auction, Museum of Neon Art, Los Angeles, CA

Artists of the Crucible , The Cathedral Gallery, Oakland, CA

Fire Light Gallery, The Crucible Fire Arts Festival, Oakland, CA

Industria, Bridgland Studios, Alameda, CA

Illuminated Sculpture, Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA

In the Glow, on National Tour

Dracul:  A Fire Ballet, Benefit Gala, The Crucible, Oakland, CA

2008 

Plasma Nation, Float Gallery, Oakland, CA

          In the Glow, Science Center, Roanoke, VA, National Tour

         

Luminous Frontier: Exhibit of Neon, Glass Art Society, Portland, OR

Firebird:  A Fire Ballet, The Crucible, Oakland, CA

Material Evidence, Float Gallery, Oakland, CA

Luminous Glass, Luniverre Gallery, Paris and Cordes sur Ciel, France

Group Exhibition of Neon and Kinetic Art, Museum of Neon Art, Los Angeles, CA

Light and Vision, Swiss Science Center, Technorama, Winterthur, Switzerland

Illuminated Glass, Glass Art Society, Portland, OR

2007

In the Glow, Science Center, Roanoke, VA

Illuminated Glass, Glass Art Society, Pittsburgh, PA

Luminous Glass, Luniverre Gallery, Paris, France

Neon and Plasma Art, California Science Center, Los Angeles,CA

Romeo & Juliet: A Fire Ballet, The Crucible, Oakland, CA

Auction, The Crucible, Oakland, CA

Great Glass Auction, Bay Area Glass Institute, San Francisco, CA

2006

Molten, An exhibition of illuminated glass artwork, Mesa Art Center, Mesa, Arizona

Plasma Glass- Light in Motion, Glass Art/ Glaskunst Galerie,
Innsbruck, Austria

Art and Science, Lawrence Hall of Science,
University of California, Berkeley, CA

As We Glow Forward, Museum of Neon Art, Lost Angeles, CA

Illuminated Glass, Glass Art Society, St. Louis, Missouri

Made in California, Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland, CA

Fire Opera and Auction, The Crucible, Oakland, CA

2005

Touch of Glass, Micaela Gallery, San Francisco, California

Illuminated Glass, Glass Art Society, Adelaide, Austrailia

Hot Shop, 1212 Gallery, Burlingame, California

24 Years with 24 Artists, Museum of Neon Art, Los Angeles, CA

Contemporary Glass Art, International Terminal, San Francisco Airport, CA

Auction, The Crucible, Oakland, CA

Carpe Lumen, Thatcher Gallery, University of San Francisco, CA

2004

Neon and Kinetic Art, Museum of Neon Art, Los Angeles, CA


Luminous Glass, Venusian Gardens, New Orleans, LA


Fire Opera, The Crucible, Oakland, CA

Illuminated Sculpture, Ohlone College, Fremont, CA

Illumination, Burning Man Festival, NV

2003

Illuminated Glass, Glass Arts Society, Seattle, WA


The Glass Vessel, Kentucky Museum of Art & Design, Louisville, KY


Gas and Glass, Museum of Neon Art, Los Angeles, CA


Light Installation, Caretta Shiodome, Tokyo, Japan

2002

Taiwan Neon, Plasma and Glass Shows, Travelling Taiwan

2001

GALA Event, Museum of Neon Art, Los Angeles, CA


Auto and Art Show, Peterson Museum, Los Angeles, CA


CARnucopia, Museum of Neon Art, Los Angeles, CA


Travelling Light, Sky Harbor Airport, Phoenix, AZ

2000

Travelling Light, Museum of Neon Art, Los Angeles, CA


Plasma: The Fourth State of Matter, Museum of Neon Art Los Angeles, CA


Illuminated Glass , Let there be Neon Gallery, New York, NY

1999

Hsinchu Int'l Art Glass Festival, Neon Pavilion (featured on poster), Hsinchu City, Taiwan


Travelling Light, Salt Creek Artworks, St. Petersburg, FL

1998

Travelling Light, Museum of Neon Art, Los Angeles, CA

 

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

          2015

                     Plasma and Glass Sculpture, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA

                  

                     Individual Artist Tutorials, Oakland, CA

 

          2014

                     Individual Artist Tutorials, Oakland, CA

          2013

                     Individual Artist Workshops, Bernd Weinmayer Studios, Tirol, Austria

                     Individual Artist Tutorials, Oakland, CA

                    

2012

Plasma Sculpture Presentation, California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA

Plasma Sculpture Presentation, Pixar Studios, Emeryville, CA

2011

Advanced Plasma Sculpture (with C. Shiess), The Crucible, Oakland, CA

Plasma Sculpture (with C. Shiess), The Crucible, Oakland, CA

2010

Plasma Sculpture (with C. Shiess), The Crucible, Oakland, CA

Individual Artist Workshop, Bernd Weinmayer Studios, Tirol, Austria

2008

          Plasma Sculpture (with C. Schiess), The Crucible, Oakland, CA

2007

Glass & Gas Plasma Sculpture, The Glass Furnace, Turkey

Techniques in Glass and Gas Plasma, Glass Art Society Conference, Pittsburgh, PA

2006

Plasma Sculpture (with C. Shiess), The Crucible, Oakland, CA

2005

Individual Artist Workshops, Bernd Weinmayer Studios, Tirol, Austria

Plasma Sculpture (with C. Schiess), The Crucible Oakland, CA

Plasma Workshop, UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA

2004

Plasma Sculpture (with C. Schiess), The Crucible, Oakland, CA

Techniques in Glass and Gas Plasma, Ateliers d’Art de France Vannes le Chatel , France

Individual Artist Workshops, Bernd Weinmayer Studios, Tirol, Austria

Techniques in Glass and Gas Plasma, Glass Art Society Conference, New Orleans, LA

2003

Plasma Sculpture (with C. Schiess), The Crucible, Oakland, CA

2002

Glass and Gas Plasma Workshops, Ropex International Co., Osaka, Japan


MEMBERSHIPS

Plasma Art Alliance (PAA), Executive Committee

Glass Art Society (GAS), Board Member, 2012 - Present

Treasurer (2014-2015)

Museum of Neon Art (MONA), Los Angeles, CA, Former Trustee and Treasurer (2000-2008), Technical Advisory Board Member (2008 - Present)


Glass Arts Society (GAS), member

Glass Alliance of Northern California (GLANC), member

Bay Area Glass Institute (BAGI), member

 

ED KIRSHNER'S BIO

Ed Kirshner is a long time resident of Oakland, California.  He first moved there over 50 years ago from New York where he was born in 1940.  Both his parents were artists and designers.  Because of their influence, Ed's exposure to art started early.  He studied art for as long as he can remember, either in public school or in one of his mother's private art classes.  What he considers his first formal training was during high school when he attended the Art Students' League of New York.  His first job related to art was during the same period when he worked in his father's design and graphics department.

After high school, Ed attended Cornell University in upstate New York where he studied architectural design and sculpture for a few years.  In 1961, to escape the cold, he joined the great American migration to California where he worked in architectural and design firms and attended the University of California at Berkeley.  He graduated at the top of his class in Architecture with Honors and won the American Institute of Architects' Student medal.  During this time, he also spent a formative summer in Salzburg, Austria, in Alfred Hrdlicka’s sculpture section of the Oskar Kokoschka School of Vision where he received the highest award for a non-professional sculptor.

Ed then moved back to the East Coast of the United States to join the original architectural and urban design team for the new town of Columbia, Maryland.  Later, in order to join the political activities in Berkeley in 1968, Ed returned to the University of California where he received a Master's Degree in City and Regional Planning with an emphasis in Housing Finance.  For over thirty-five years, Ed has made a successful career developing and financing affordable housing for low-income people as well as developing policy and programs on the local, state and national levels to enhance the economic wellbeing of disadvantaged people.  He has also taught upper division and graduate level courses in community-based economic development and affordable housing finance at numerous colleges and universities, including the University of California at Berkeley, Davis, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.

About twenty years ago, Ed discovered glass and neon art as well as the new scientific theories of self-organizing chaos and emergence.  To further these interests and get back into art, he took many studio classes in glass and neon sculpture at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, the Academy of Arts College in San Francisco and the Crucible Fire Arts School in Oakland.  He has spent several summers at the Pilchuck and Corning glass schools as well as at Northlands Creative Glass in Scotland.

His glass and gas plasma sculptures have been exhibited in shows and galleries across the United States as well as in Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Austria, France, Switzerland and Turkey.  He has been included in numerous shows at the Museum of Neon Art (MONA) in Los Angeles and Glandale, California, where he is on the Technical Advisory Board and served for several years on its Board of Trustees and as its Treasurer.  Ed’s sculpture has also been represented in such public venues as the International Terminal at the San Francisco Airport and the Oakland Museum of California. His work entitled "Cone of Chaos" was a Corning Glass selection for the year 2000 and was published in the October 2001 issue of "Neues Glas" as well as in the recent book, “25 Years of New Glass Review” by The Corning Museum of Glass.  Examples of his work have also been featured in several other glass art publications including the World Art Glass Quarterly.  The di Rosa Preserve in Napa, California, a major regional private fine art collection, as well as Technorama, the Swiss Science Center near Zurich have acquired examples of his glass and plasma sculptures for their permanent collections as have many other private collectors here and in Europe.  In recognition of his work, Ed was elected to the Board of Directors of the Glass Art Society (GAS) and serves on its Development and Finance Committees.

Ed likes to teach and share his unique glass and plasma art and techniques with others.  For example, he has offered intensive workshops in Japan, sponsored by the Ropex glass art company and in France at the European glass school, CERFAV, sponsored by the French national crafts association, Atelier d'Art.  In 2004, he was invited to demonstrate his work at the annual Glass Arts Society conference in New Orleans and did the same at their 2007 conference in Pittsburg.  Ed has taught glass and plasma sculpture at the University of California in San Diego and is on the faculty of the Crucible Fire Arts School in Oakland and the Glass Furnace near Istanbul in Turkey. To expand his teaching internationally, Ed has been awarded a five year Fulbright Specialist Program Fellowship by the US Department of State.

 

EDUCATION

2012

       

          Life Sculpture Class, CCA, Oakland CA

2003

The Crucible, Oakland CA, Neon Sculpture with Christian Schiess

2002

Northlands Glass School, Scotland, Master Class with Irene Frolic

2000

Corning Glass School, Corning, NY Summer class in glass and gas plasma

1996-2001

California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA Numerous studio glass classes

1997-1999

Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, WA Summer classes in neon, glass and gas plasma

1995

Academy of Arts College, San Francisco, Neon sculpture class

1968-1971

University of California, Berkeley, Dept. of City and Regional Planning, Masters of City Planning

1962-1966

University of California, Berkeley, Dept. of Architecture, Bachelors in Architecture with Honors and the American Institute of Architects' Student Medal. Studies in architecture, urban design and sculpture

1963

Oskar Kokoschka School of Vision, Salzburg, Austria, Summer sculpture program with Alfred Hrdlicka, prize winner

1958-1960

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, School of Architecture, Studies in architectural design, sculpture, painting and drawing

1956-1957

Art Students' League of New York, Classes in life drawing

 


Purchase & Commission

Most of the work on this website is available for purchase. Similar work is available by commission. Please contact Aurora Sculpture for more information.

 
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