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Artist of the Month
August 2010

Artist of the Month

Richard Jolley

In his multi-faceted archetypal vocabulary Richard Jolley explores the human body’s beauty and dynamism. Jolley’s work is a tantalizing combination of familiar images that are rearranged and juxtaposed in an open-ended dialogue with the viewer and each other. Jolley explores issues of the human condition, nature, and the universe while shifting the vernacular by the use of glass, color and contemporary symbolism. 

Richard Jolley

Artist of the Month

About Richard Jolley

Shimmering just beneath the surface of Richard Jolley’s forms are themes of human dignity, male and female interplay and a profound respect for the environment. Jolley explores contemporary mythologies with the addition of organic elements such as trees, fig leaves, smaller figural groups and birds. These elements buffer the more staid classicizing of the central figure.

The underlying theme in Jolley’s work is man’s relationship to the world around him. It is the classical world of balance, harmony and order made contemporary in Jolley’s vocabulary of organic images. There is a universalism to Jolley’s work. It has mythical stories to tell but they are swirling through the series, slightly out of grasp. The juxtaposition of figures with seemingly disparate objects—birds, trees, flowers and globes—makes the specific meaning of his work elusive. The sculptures are tempting and taunting but ultimately open ended. Whatever the interpretation of subject matter, the beauty of Jolley’s glass is undeniable. The energy of his composition lies in the mastery of his medium, coupled with his dynamic handling of color. His palette-- bold bursts of rich color-- are at once liquid and solid.

Underneath all of the layers of imagery and allusions and allegory, Jolley’s work is an articulation of pure aesthetic pleasure tinged with irony and humor. For all of the deeper levels perhaps the most appealing one is the most basic-- the exhilarating color and energetic form embodying Richard’s conception of the universe. Moreover, Jolley does not dictate how the viewer should think, but rather he gives us the opportunity to contemplate the fundamental elements of life and draw our own conclusions.

Currently, Richard is undertaking his most ambitious and monumental project to date for the Knoxville Museum of Art. The as-yet-untitled work is the gift of Ann and Steve Bailey, longtime supporters of the KMA. The KMA is an Edward Larrabee Barnes building which will house Jolley’s installation, which will be one of the largest and most significant glass sculptures in the world. The work will measure 109 feet in length and will be 14 feet high, presenting an unparalleled achievement; both technically and aesthetically. Installation is tentatively scheduled for 2013. 

Acknowledgment of Gallery:
We are grateful to Scott Jacobson Gallery (NYC) for providing the materials for the Artist of the Month.

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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.

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