While their sculptural forms and assemblages evoke the sensuous curves of the feminine, Jenny Pohlman and Sabrina Knowles provide a narrative that embraces our common humanity. Drawing on inspiration from day-to-day life, travel, or studies of ancient and contemporary cultures, Pohlman and Knowles have blazed a trail for women working in hot glass through their successful and cutting edge artwork.
“From our earliest collaborative efforts we have explored the feminine fluidity, curvature, strength, and plasticity inherent in glass. The innate three-dimensionality of molten glass assists with our design visions, and we often see new forms emerging from the forms we are working on in the hot shop. These glimpses into the next possibility fuel our enthusiasm and the direction of our designs.”
The Pohlman Knowles collaboration spans two decades. As seekers, they have undertaken multiple international two-month journeys to developing nations absorbing religious beliefs, political histories, current affairs, architecture, social structure, and people’s personal stories. After lengthy incubation Pohlman and Knowles morph their experiences into sculptural stories to share what they have learned about healing, self-empowerment, and the power of the human spirit.
Pohlman and Knowles have been honored with numerous awards including Pratt Fine Arts Center’s Service in the Arts Award in 2011 and Service in Education Award in 2000. The artists received a Saxe Fellowship award from the Bay Area Glass Institute, San Jose, in 2009; a 2015 residency at Pilchuck Glass School, and residencies at Museum of Glass, Tacoma, 2014, 2007, and 2003; as well as Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in 2004 and 1999. Their work can be found in the collections of the Museum of American Glass, the Museum of Glass, the National Liberty Museum, the Racine Art Museum, and Tacoma Art Museum, among many others.
On view now through November 4, 2017, at Schack Art Center in Everett, Washington, is the Pohlman Knowles exhibition Lodestar. Defined as a principle, interest, or person that serves as an inspiration or guide, Lodestar features an installation of signature compositions and works from the artists’ latest series integrating photographic images in blown glass. This process was inspired by the strength, grace, and beauty of the Himba women, who the artists briefly met in Northern Namibia.
“We believe in the Magnitude of the Multitude and what it represents, that collectively we can effect change and create something more beautiful together than separately. We wish to show a feeling of reverence and solidarity together as is expressed in our Multiple Homage series and power through Luna, our Wheel of Liberation. Prayer beads are used in many cultures throughout the world. They can be used as a meditation and remind us that we can hope for something better.”
On view at Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Washington, Making our Mark: Art by Pratt Teaching Artists runs from November 9 – April 23, 2018. Pohlman and Knowles will be represented by Duane Reed Gallery at SOFA Chicago, November 2 through 5; and in 2018, opening in July, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Washington, will present Journey: 25 Years of Collaboration- A Mid-Career Survey of Works by Sabrina Knowles & Jenny Pohlman.
In 1973, before annealers, colored glass, or instructional materials on flameworking, teenaged Milon Townsend worked glass in the torch, transforming his bedroom into a makeshift studio. In time, the artist taught himself to express his understanding of the human form in complex and elegant sculpture.
Townsend’s early career involved selling his glass art at fairs and shows until he opened a series of stores, culminating with two locations in Manhattan and a full time crew of 26 people in his retail/wholesale operation. Twelve years in New York City exposed him to the world of dance, which quickly found its way into Townsend’s sculptural aesthetic, as seen in his groundbreaking Body Language series. From 2005 to 2015 Townsend set flameworking aside and created, experimented, and transferred his vocabulary of human forms to kiln casting.
A tireless educator, Townsend has authored numerous books, and hundreds of articles on the topics of glass process, creative thought, and career development for artists. He has also produced a series of videos that demonstrate the techniques he developed, making them available to other artists in his field.