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Richard Jolley

For more than two decades Richard Jolley has been increasingly celebrated for his distinctive sculptures in glass, a medium whose malleability and translucency allow his expressive forms to take on sometimes surprising and, quite literally, illuminating dimensions. Less familiar, perhaps, are the sculptor's recent but equally impressive, experimental works on paper and his mixed-media installations, which he imbues with a daring assimilation of primal, classical and entirely personal humanistic impulses. In the mid-1980s, Jolley's radical transformation of his non-traditional, craft-associated material into vivid, ambitious sculpture began attracting public notice. In these last two decades he has explored a wide range, especially in his complex Totems series. These witty, figurative three-dimensional works, evocative of the Pop Art revolution of the 1960s, retain the artist's personal accent, even as his work expanded in a number of other seminal directions. Not only has Jolley taken full control of the rich colour palette and techniques unique to glass, but he has also used these means to create alternately mannered and rusticated busts, increasingly ambitious in scale, and often in intricate but satisfying compound compositions; he has also applied these means to related visual statements in more purely abstract and experimental formats. In Richard Jolley: Transformations art historians Sam Hunter and Laura Stewart examine the artist's work in terms of both its contemporary impact and background, and they also explore his more subtle inspirations, personal motivations and new directions. In addition to the contemporary focus of the critical text, their exposition brings fresh perspectives to the history of glass through the ages, and this grand saga is richly illustrated with works from each of Jolley's numerous periods and varying stylistic approaches, placing the artist's highly individual oeuvre in a broader cultural context. The text also explores contemporary vanguard movements in America while establishing Jolley's pre-eminence in this challenging field that so imaginatively links craft with the fine arts.
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About the Author

Sam Hunter is an eminent art historian. Among his books are: Hans Hofmann (Rizzoli, 2002), Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture (Harry N Abrams, 2000), The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The History and the Collection by Museum of Modern Art, introduction Sam Hunter (Abradale Press, 1997), Michel Delacroix: Eternal Paris (Abbeville Press, 1998).

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