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Artist of the Month
April 2012

Artist of the Month

Leslie Ann Genninger

American artist Leslie Ann Genninger has used Murano glass as the primary medium for her art and designs for nearly 25 years. Living in Venice, Italy, and working directly with the great Murano glass masters and artisans is both her inspiration and challenge. Century old traditions, techniques and secrets are revealed in an explosion of creativity in each of Leslie's beads, unique pieces of jewelry, goblets, lighting sculpture and glass object designs.

Click on each photo to the right for a full picture.
 

Leslie Ann Genninger

Artist of the Month

Artist Statement:

Murano is an island full of creativity.  It has a magical language of traditions and techniques that go into each creation: soffiato, filigrana, reticello, avventurina, incalmo, sommerso, murrine, baloton, battuto...they roll off of the tongue like poetry and off the blow pipes of the great masters and artisans like precious gems. I became submerged in the experience of Murano when I visited the Island for the first time in 1988. I felt like a child in a candy shop...the penny candy of my youth...shapes and sizes of every imagination bursting with color ...you can't get enough!  There is so much to learn, to see, to experience and so much to create. It is still like that today for me, even after 24 years. I am drawn back into the alchemy of the glass every time I step foot on the Island.

I recently brought 39 seven- and eight-year-old second graders and their teachers to Murano to introduce them to the magical Island in their backyard, and to meet some of the brilliant glass masters and artists who are friends. The children touched us all with their enthusiasm and yearning for knowledge. It was beautiful to see their little eyes all aglow, jumping up every second to ask a question, to understand a technique, to guess which animal would mysteriously evolve from this liquid molten mass..."a crocodile, a deer, a penguin." The Venetian glass master with 45 years of hardworking experience magically tweezed each animal from a fist full of glass in less than 2 minutes!  The children's minds were transported into the glass menagerie; and the Maestro, from the children's enthusiasm, was transported back to his childhood.  In another “fornace” the children marveled at the Maestro's alchemy of blowing a bubble of hot liquid into fluffy transparent “confetti,” or the mystery of a solid drop of glass exploding into pulverized sand in the tightened gloved hand of their shocked teacher. In an artist's studio, the children sprawled on the floor surrounded by a 65 year retrospective of sculpture.  Describing what they saw, in their own language, they drew the poetry, form and the light in the artist's work using just pencils of black, white and shades of grey! I relived my first experiences of Murano through the eyes of my son and his classmates on their first school trip to Murano.


Leslie Genninger in her Venice gallery, Gennninger Studio.

About Leslie Ann Genninger

Leslie was born in New Jersey and grew up in Rhode Island and Ohio. She graduated from Ohio State University with a BA in business and dual majors in marketing and finance.  Seven years into a promising real estate and investment banking career, she decided to take a sabbatical and head to Europe for the first time in her life.  In the autumn of 1988, her travels took her to Venice, which changed the course of her life.

Leslie recalls: “Walking around Venice I felt instantly at home.  The lagoon reminded me of my childhood on the bays of Rhode Island, and there was an amazing array of artistic expression called Murano glass in every shape, color and form."

For the first couple of years she lived on the Island of Murano and created a new career representing young emerging Murano glass artists and artisans.  With the Venetian glass masters she began exploring ancient and new glass blowing techniques. Working with these masters was quite a challenge, yet over 24 years later she is still working and designing in this closed traditional environment. 

Today her Murano glass jewelry has an admiring international clientele and is found in some of the finest museums collections, galleries and boutiques around the world. Her gallery, Genninger Studio, is located in the heart of the museum district of Venice, in the picturesque Campiello Barbaro.  Here you find her one-of-a-kind collection of Venetian jewelry, Cesendelli chandeliers, impressive and eccentric hand blown goblets, and colorful mirrors in an array of unique designs.

In 2001 Leslie met her husband, Michele Benzoni, an architect and fifth generation Venetian. She introduced him to the Murano glass masters, artists and artisans, and they enjoy collaborating on designs and international installations together.

Leslie's jewelry can be found at Wheaton Arts Gallery in Millville, New Jersey; Pismo Gallery in  Denver; The Museum of Art and Design Store in NYC; The Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum Store in Boston; The Gardiner Museum Store in Toronto; Kitaichi Glass Museum in Otaru,Hokkaido; Keith Lipert Gallery in D.C.; and for additional listings please contact Leslie at lesliegenninger@me.com or visit http://www.genningerstudio.com.
 

Acknowledgment of Gallery:
We are grateful to Genninger Studio of Venice, Italy, for providing the materials for 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.