When a friend gave Toland Sand a stained glass studio in 1977, he embarked upon a journey that would lead him to explore the myriad qualities that define glass as a medium. Sand’s 45 years as a sculptor has resulted in works of stained glass, blown glass, and every combination in between. A pioneer in utilizing the unique properties of dichroic glass, Sand begins his current sculpture with optical crystal and dichroic coated glass, hand worked by grinding in ever finer stages until a polish is achieved. Seeking balance, harmony, and symmetry, with an accent on deconstructed form, his work inhabits the symbolic, the cosmic, and the mystery.
Inspired by his peers as well as artists such as Isamu Noguchi, David Smith, Henry Moore, and Mark Rothko, Sand says: “I love that images can come and go, are made bold, and then disappear; are reflective and then not. The energetic and mystical side comes from the teachings of my spiritual Master, Sant Kirpal Singh, by whose instructions I meditate every day in my personal effort to connect to and be receptive to the vibration of the mysteries.”
Two years in Taiwan as a child and five years in Athens, Greece, as a teenager, motivated Sand’s investigations of “otherness.” Influenced by Eastern ideograms, Greek letters and Arabic writing, the sculptor creates symbols that have meaning in their elegance as graphics and maintain the sense that language and lettering can lead one into other consciousnesses and cultures.
Each piece takes more or less six weeks to complete, starting with a drawing in the traditional three views on large white paper ripped from a roll, pencil, ruler, and compass. He says: “It’s exciting for me to see how the finished piece measures up to my concept, that begins with inspiration and an idea, and ends up as a complex construction made more complex by reflection, refraction, and the dance of light and color in a three- dimensional setting.”
Sand’s sculpture has been collected by individuals and institutions nationwide including Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass, Neenah, Wisconsin; Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, St. Joseph. Missouri; Chattanooga Museum of Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee; University of Michigan Art Museum, Ann Arbor; and The Imagine Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida. His work can also be found in the corporate collections of IBM, Coca Cola, UPS and MacDonald’s, to name a few. Exhibitions include SOFA Chicago, New York and Santa Fe as well as 25 solo shows, most recently in 2015 at Bender Gallery, Asheville, North Carolina, and in 2016 at Raven Gallery, Aspen, Colorado.
In July of 2016, Sand moved his studio from rural New Hampshire to Carmel Valley, California. “The sculptures are a reflection of my inner space and what grabs my attention. I could be doing them anywhere. Actually, I don’t question exactly where they come from. It’s the mystery.”