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Artist of the Month
November 2020

Artist of the Month

April Surgent

April Surgent started working with glass in 1997 at open access studios in Seattle, WA. She went on to study at the Australian National University, where she graduated with honors in 2004. After studying under Czech master engraver Jiri Harcuba at the Pilchuck glass school in 2003, she began her focus on traditional craft of wheel engraving. She has been engraving for over 14 years. Surgent is represented by Traver Gallery, Seattle, Washington.

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April Surgent

Artist of the Month

Artist Statement:

The beginning of the 21st century has arrived with fast-moving technologies and a perpetual barrage of inconsequential information. We now live in a world directed by smart phones, social media, and an increasing "need" to be "connected." Yet the alienating nature of contemporary existence grows. Our rapid technological advancements are transforming our very fundamentals as we shift away from the traditions and knowledge we have accumulated over our existence. Being one of the last generations to know life before cell phones, home computers, and the internet, I ask myself what life will look like in 50 and 100 years and how much of mankind’s essence and ingenuity and the world as we know it will continue on into the future?

Regarding the past, my work strives to challenge the 21st century’s move away from tradition by sustaining an age-old craft and integrating it with contemporary themes and technologies, the very act of engraving becoming a confrontation of our times. Using the photographed image as inspiration along with the antiquated technique of cameo engraved glass, I make archival records of contemporary life. My engravings symbolize my collective experiences and observations and are one portrayal of what life looks like. In an age of rapid change and when many traditional crafts and skills are being lost, I feel it especially important to record and document life through visual art, so as to be learned from and not forgotten in the rush of the 21st century.

About April Surgent

April Surgent started working with glass in 1997 at open-access hot shop studios in her hometown of Seattle, WA. She went on to study at the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, where she graduated with honors in 2004. In 2003, she changed her focus from blown to engraved glass after studying under Czech master engraver Jiri Harcuba at Pilchuck Glass School. Surgent exhibits, teaches, and lectures internationally and has received many accolades for her work, including the Neddy Fellowship through the Behnke Foundation and a 2016 USA Ford Fellowship.
Interested in marine ecology, she uses experiences of working with conservation research scientists to inform her work aimed at cultivating public awareness about climate change and anthropogenic impact on the environment. In 2013, she worked at Palmer station as a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artist and Writers Program. And in 2016, she worked as a volunteer field biologist for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. Most recently, Surgent worked from the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, 30 miles west of San Francisco with Point Blue Conservation, and in southwest Alaska with the US Geological Survey. Surgent lives and works on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.

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Acknowledgment of Gallery:
We are grateful to Traver Gallery, Seattle, Washington, for providing the Artist of the Month.

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Our Mission

The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to further the development and appreciation of art made from glass.

The Alliance informs collectors, critics and curators by encouraging and supporting museum exhibitions, university glass departments and specialized teaching programs, regional collector groups, visits to private collections, and public seminars.