Retrospective: Stephen Rolfe Powell

June 27 – October 24, 2010

This retrospective exhibition of contemporary glass sculptor, Stephen Rolfe Powell, will feature selections of the artist’s work from the last 20 years.

Powell, who is recognized both nationally and internationally for his colorfully patterned pieces, draws his inspiration from nature, and ancient Italian murrini techniques. Included in the exhibition will be work from his Teasers, Whackos and Screamers series. Many of the works are new and have never been shown before.

A Birmingham native, Powell began his artistic career as a painter and ceramicist. He had his first experience with glass blowing in the early 1980s, and has been devoted to the medium ever since. Along with creating his own work, Powell is also a professor at Centre College in Danville, Ky., where he has been instrumental in building a glass making studio and founding their glass program.

It is Powell’s intense use of color combined with unusual, gravity-defying forms that entice the viewer into lingering and looking closely. He continually experiments, refines and challenges the boundaries of his medium to create something new. In fact, it was a fractured wrist in 2003 that inspired his exploration and change from the large vessel format which he had been working with for a number of years, to a more horizontal form that developed into his popular Whackos series. Many of Powell’s pieces seem to reference bird or animal forms, while the colors are definitely drawn from the infinite rainbow visible in nature.

Powell’s work is also featured in the exhibit, Jellies: Living Art, at the Tennessee Aquarium. Jellies is a joint exhibition between the Hunter and the Aquarium. The Powell exhibition at the Hunter was designed to complement the Jellies exhibition and to celebrate the Museum's ongoing partnership with the Tennessee Aquarium.

Organized by the Hunter Museum in conjunction with Stephen Rolfe Powell Studios. Exhibition support is provided by the SunTrust Foundation.

Stephen Rolfe Powell, Torrid Lascivious Gasp, 2001, Blown Glass, Collection of the Hunter Museum of American Art, Museum purchase with contributions from Spectrum, 2008.12.