Richard Parrish’s distinctive Mapping and Tapestry series were inspired by his early life on a farm in Eastern Idaho and growing up in the American Intermountain West. The artist’s dreams of big skies, endless prairie, and a single butte with little else on the horizon continue to inform his kilnformed glass.
About a third of Parrish’s practice focuses on teaching and traveling around the world. The rest takes place in his Fusio Studio in Bozeman, Montana, where he makes three kinds of work including commissions and a series of decorative wall pieces entitled Tapestry. His less decorative series dubbed Mapping is comprised of large hanging wall panels with bas relief surfaces suggesting landscapes, topographical, and aerial views. The surfaces with their earthier feel encourage viewers to relate to them as paintings rather than glass.
Parrish holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. He taught architecture and design at The University of Michigan and Montana State University but currently teaches classes in kilnformed glass throughout the world, focusing on the visual elements of design, color theory, and inspiration. The artist will teach four classes in Australia in March 2018. At his Montana studio, Parrish plans an expanded version of his Color Theory for Kilnformed Glass class in the summer of 2018 and a special class in September structured around the idea of Place and its potential for artistic inspiration, complete with visit to Yellowstone National Park.
Initially featured in a solo exhibition Aerial Perspectives of the American Landscape held at the Rockwell Museum in Corning, New York, Parrish's work is now on view at the Bullseye Resource Center, in Emeryville, California. He is one of six artists participating in a group exhibition on Climate Change at Rockland Center for the Arts, Nyack, New York, titled "The Tipping Point," scheduled for April 15 - May 25, 2018. In May 2018, works by Steve Klein, Parrish and artists-in-residence will be on view at the Pilchuck exhibition space in a show titled "Dis- Dissonance and Discovery." Continuing his exploration of aerial views and the western landscape, Parrish will have a solo exhibition at Bullseye Projects, in Portland, Oregon, opening May 2 2018. In addition, he'll be working on a commission for an individual associated with the United Nations inspired by the Niger River in Mali.
A unique combination of talents is required for an artist to move back and forth between conserving historic stained glass and creating original work that can pass the test of time. Since 1976, Mary Clerkin Higgins has been doing just that. An internationally renowned contemporary stained glass artist, Clerkin Higgins brings inspired creativity and a fascination with color to her original work. However, in the role of conservator, she checks her artistic voice and relies upon the finely honed technical skills and careful attention to detail of past masters.
During the 2017 American Glass Guild conference held in Rochester, New York, Clerkin Higgins was awarded the first Nicholas Parrendo Lifetime Achievement Award. In September, she presented a paper to the Corpus Vitrearum Conservation forum, titled Bringing Back the Ghosts. An original co-founder of the American Glass Guild, Clerkin Higgins received New York’s Landmarks Conservancy Lucy G. Moses award for her work at Packer Collegiate Institute Middle School Project; and a New York Construction Award of Merit for her work at Lady Chapel project, Cathedral of St. Patrick.
In 2014, Clerkin Higgins’ original creation, Oh! won the American Glass Guild’s inaugural American Glass Now Award for Excellence in the Art of Stained Glass, acknowledging the creative use of materials, original expression, aesthetic impact, clarity of narrative, and complexity of execution in the work. The 12-inch-by-40-inch piece rendered in blown glass, vitreous paints, and lead was subsequently selected for Corning Museum’s New Glass Review 36.
Last year Clerkin Higgins spent considerable time conserving two 13th-century pieces, one for Harvard Art Museums from Canterbury Cathedral and one for the Baltimore Museum of Art from the Tours Cathedral in France. Higgins’ conservation work can be found in the foremost museums and public and private collections across North America. She has conserved stained glass from the 12th to the 20th centuries, made by renowned masters and notable moderns, including John LaFarge, Tiffany Studios, Henry E. Sharp, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marc Chagall, and Frederick S. Lamb. She has also worked on windows by Harry Clarke, William Morris, Daniel Cottier, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Clerkin Higgins, the conservator, currently works on three Tiffany windows for a museum in Washington DC. As artist, Clerkin Higgins creates a new window with Sabra Field for a hospice chapel at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire; a new window for a church in Winston Salem, North Carolina, filled with Rowan LeCompte windows made with Clerkin Higgins’ assistance; and a 15th- century martyr for a collector. Her personal work is on view in the juried show Workhouse Glass National 2017 in Lorton, VA, from October 28 through January 14, 2018.
Higgins feels lucky to have kept busy working these past decades without the need to advertise. For 17 years she worked on more than 100 pieces in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Cloisters, all while maintaining her own studio.