Hunter Museum's first ArtWise program presents artist Paul Stankard

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 22, 2013) – Glass artist Paul Stankard is internationally-known for his painstakingly detailed botanical compositions. He will discuss his work as part of Hunter Museum’s new series “ArtWise: Distinguished Speakers at the Hunter Museum.”


The “ArtWise” speaker series brings renowned art world figures to the museum.


“We’re very excited to present “ArtWise” to Chattanooga,” said Adera Causey, Hunter Museum curator of education. “This series features premiere thinkers, creators and scholars in the arts today. We invite the community to join us as world as these individuals share their insights with us.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to hear and meet the arts leaders of today and tomorrow.”

All ArtWise programs are open to the public and are included with regular Hunter Museum admission (free to Hunter Members, $9.95 for adults).

Stankard's work is inspired by the poetry of Walt Whitman and by the intricacies of nature, and feature delicately designed flowers that meticulously reproduce the endless variations of nature. He is the winner of several lifetime and artistic merit awards and his work can be found in major museum collections including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Arts and Design and the Hunter Museum.

A pioneer in the studio glass movement, Paul Stankard’s career has spanned more than four decades. At first glance his works appear to be simple paperweight forms. Upon closer inspection, one can see the painstakingly detailed, intricate botanical compositions, with roots that are often figurative. Stankard cites the poetry of James Joyce and Walt Whitman as inspiration for his miniature representations of North American wild flowers and he meticulously lampworks each piece in sections that are then encased in clear glass.

Stankard’s work is currently showcased at the Hunter Museum in the exhibition, “Beauty Beyond Nature: The Glass Art of Paul Stankard.” It is on view now until April 21.

“Beauty Beyond Nature” features more than 70 works is divided into five categories—Paperweights, Botanicals, Cubes & Columns, Orbs and Diptychs, Triptychs & Assemblages. Paperweights examines Stankard’s radical approach to a traditional format. The artist began as a scientific glassblower and would experiment with creating flowers in his time off using a simple flameworking torch. As he became increasingly adept at making elaborate florals, the artist’s paperweights took on more detail and more complexity. He then moved into a vertical orientation that is explored through both Botanicals and the Cubes & Columns series. These works feature human forms intertwined into the root structures, symbolic orbs or spheres hovering above the composition, and ‘cloistering,’ a technique he used to strategically filter or absorb light within the sculpture.

With Orbs, Stankard moved into the realm of the 360 degree sphere. He achieved this with Robert Stephan, who grinds and polishes Stankard’s pieces. Diptychs, Triptychs & Assemblages brings together the artist’s various techniques and ideas that he had developed over thirty years. Each of these pieces is ambitious, featuring his vocabulary of artistic forms in a grid format.

Stankard is in nearly 40 national and international museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the GlasMuseum, Denmark, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and the Hunter Museum.  He was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Craft Council in 2000 and has received numerous Lifetime Achievement Awards for his innovative techniques.

This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington with the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation, Ltd. It is sponsored locally by: Barnett & Company and BB&T Insurance Services.

Event Details

Thursday, Feb. 28 | Art Wise: Distinguished Speakers at the Hunter Museum Presents Paul Stankard, 6 p.m.

Join us for the first in the “ArtWise” distinguished speaker series as the Hunter welcomes acclaimed glass artist Paul Stankard. Included with regular admission (free for Hunter members, $9.95 for non-members.)