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Artist of the Month
January 2023

Artist of the Month

Dan Dailey

American visual artist Dan Dailey has produced sculpture and functional art with an emphasis on lighting since 1970. Made primarily from glass and metal, every object begins with a drawing. Dailey’s artworks depict human character and the world we inhabit. His glass work incorporates many techniques, from blown glass to pate-de-verre, to the use of Vitrolite. Dailey is represented by Okay Spark gallery, Norfolk, Virginia.

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Dan Dailey

Artist of the Month

Artist Statement:

One thing that keeps coming back to me is the question, “Why do I make what I make?” Of course, I can look over my sketchbooks over the years, spot the common themes of nature and humanity and emotion and gesture and design and stylization, all things that intrigue me and inspire me. It’s really a desire to communicate, I think, that drives me from one piece to the next. I’m constantly looking for a way to say something with my work. I have deliberately avoided being profound perhaps because I think my own profound statement might be more pretentious than provocative.
I do feel that one of the most interesting aspects of the way art effects the individual comes from the simple heartfelt emotion that’s drawn from us when we see something we like. That’s what I’ve pursued. I try to give everything some magic, a magnetic attractive quality, which may be its oddity, or a deliberately contrived beauty. I search for the quality that will give life to each piece I make. To have an idea, figure out how to make it, then create something that looks good has been the driving force all along. These steps are a part of the act of making art but considering communication as a goal in itself, a goal perhaps apart from the esthetic goal, is something that guides my work.
I’m not sure communication can be far apart from the esthetic goal because esthetic qualities themselves have a way of promoting communication. What is it about the awesome beauty of nature that draws a person to stop and watch a sunset or makes a particular individual so beautiful or handsome? These are esthetic qualities more than anything else and that is what attracts us. Can an artist contrive to attract by creating a thing of beauty? Very likely, yes. Is art created which is devoid of intellectual content? Very likely, yes.
Maybe I’m too caught up in thinking about what I do. Just do it without the thought. That’s why I say I deliberately try not to be so profound, as I call upon a different deeper nature of my own which exists as pure emotion, uncluttered by the concerns of those who might judge my work, reaching out to those who would simply enjoy this vision, this 3-dimensional object created from the vision, as a part of their own experience.
When my pieces leave my studio and enter someone else’s visual domain to me they take on a new life, a life of their own, and at that point they communicate. They become an aspect of my thought which has the potential to give someone else a spark which make them smile, make them wonder, give a tangible pleasure or provoke emotional impulse, and if I can achieve that perhaps it is the best thing I can do with my work.
—Dan Dailey, 1998

About Dan Dailey

American visual artist Dan Dailey has simultaneously produced sculpture and functional art with an emphasis on lighting since 1970. Made primarily from glass and metal, every piece of work begins with a drawing. Dailey's drawings and the objects they inspire depict human character and the world we inhabit, with many familiar forms rendered iconic. His myriad series explore extraordinary concepts with a broad range of themes and styles. These attributes and his 40 years of achievement and recognition have made Dan Dailey a prominent artist in the history of glass, and unique among American artists.

Dailey was born in 1947 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Philadelphia College of Art. Dailey received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. He is Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, where he founded the Glass Department in 1973. He has taught at numerous schools including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Pilchuck Glass School and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and he has given lectures and workshops throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. Dailey's emphasis on the individual development of his students' sculptural concepts has defined his approach to teaching. He now works in his New Hampshire studio with the help of a staff of assistants.

Since 1971, Dailey has participated in over 300 group, juried, and invitational exhibitions, and has had numerous one-person museum and gallery exhibits including a major retrospective at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, and a recent installation at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. He has completed more than 70 architectural commissions for corporate headquarters, hospitals, municipalities, a county courthouse, a performing arts center, and private residences. His work is represented in more than 50 museum and public collections around the world. 

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Acknowledgment of Gallery:
We are grateful to Okay Spark gallery, Norfolk, Virginia, 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.