Rogers' piece "Evoking Nabokov" is another showstopper ...
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Society for Contemporary Craft displays results of Founder's Prize competition
By Kurt ShawTRIBUNE-REVIEW ART CRITICSunday, October 7, 2007
On the tail end of Pittsburgh's Year of Glass comes "Transformation 6: Contemporary Works in Glass," the latest iteration of the Society for Contemporary Craft's 2007 Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder's Prize competition, a biennial event and exhibition series begun in 1997.
That year, the competition also focused on glass. After rotating through a variety of media ranging from small metals to found materials, glass is the focus yet again. But Jamie Adams, the society's exhibitions manager, insists it's only a coincidence.
"This is a glass show that is less about glass and more about the work," he says. "Each of these pieces uses glass as a vehicle to talk about broader issues."
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Crowder was one of two artists receiving an honorable mention award. The other was Michael Rogers of Honeoye Falls, N.Y.
Rogers' piece "Evoking Nabokov" is another showstopper. A vintage glass case housing 22 handmade paperweights that feature images of butterflies, it is an homage to Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), who is best known for his 1955 novel "Lolita."
As Adams tells it, Rogers was surprised to find that Nabokov had an equally distinguished career as a lepidopterist, having discovered the genus Nabokovia, a species of butterflies that was named for him.
In this piece, Rogers combined both of Nabokov's aforementioned interests. The butterflies, as represented with paperweights, are combined with the author's writings, represented here by a typewriter contained within as well as several chapters from "Lolita," which Rogers has painstakingly etched by hand in cursive on every visible glass surface of the case.
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