Beauty in the Breakdown
Art Glass Wall Sculpture
The process of murrine art glass incorporates mosaic techniques originated over 3,000 years ago. The popularity of mosaic glass peaked around the first century BC/AD, about the same time when blown glass objects first made their appearance. Shortly thereafter, the mosaic art form quickly fell out of favor. In the nineteenth century a revival of the technique surfaced in Murano, Italy. Here the process was developed and refined along with milk glass, crystalline glass, enameled glass, and aventurine (or glass with threads of gold). Robert developed his Colorbar Murrine Series by joining the hot glass technique perfected in Murano with the kilnformed, or warm glass process. Art glass specifically designed to be compatible during the firing process is thoughtfully selected. The art glass is cut, arranged and placed in a kiln where it is carefully heated to a temperature that causes the glass to melt, or fuse together. After the cooling process, or annealing, the result is creating cane, or glass bars. The cane, or colorbars as the artist calls them, may be further manipulated and are eventually cut into many small pieces, called millefiori or murrine. Each murrine is meticulously arranged by hand and then fired together to produce the final piece. Beauty in the Breakdown is an award winning triptych that incorporates a simplistic yet elegant color scheme including 10 shades of white, gray and black. The panels contain over 290 unique murrine designs and exceed a total of 2,000 handmade murrine pieces. The panels are hung using a French cleat system that is not visible from the front, allowing light to pass through and providing a floating appearance. No two triptychs are exactly the same.