Celebrating the Botanical Sculptures of an American Master

Celebrating the Botanical Sculptures of an American Master


MILLVILLE, NJ (April 18, 2018) – The Museum of American Glass at WheatonArts hosts “Beauty Beyond Nature: The Glass Art of Paul Stankard”, organized by the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation and guest curated by Andrew Page for the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation. This exhibition celebrates the botanical sculptures, evolution and major developments of American Master, Paul Stankard – drawing from his first attempts at creating a paperweight to showcasing his most complex orbs. Beauty Beyond Nature is open now and runs through December 30, 2018. Collector Robert Minkoff assembled this definitive collection of Stankard’s, showing before at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass in Neenah, Wisconsin, and the Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables, Florida.

The exhibition is accompanied by a book of the same name. Lavishly illustrated with detailed photographs that capture never-before-seen levels of detail that bring Stankard’s technical and expressive achievements to life; the book is a perfect accompaniment to this unique exhibition.

It wasn’t until the 1960s, when Paul Stankard, who at the time was a highly skilled scientific glassblower, began to investigate the local flora of the Northeastern U.S. By encasing his lovingly rendered studies in glass the paperweight moved from a decorative art object to one-of-a-kind expressive statement. Unlike the colorful millefiori (thousand flowers) patterns typical of 19thcentury French production paperweights by Baccarat or Clichy, Stankard’s artwork is the product of highly refined techniques at the flameworker’s torch, where, over five decades, he’s developed intricate sculptural compositions that teem with fertility.

As the work evolved technically, so did its scale and complexity. Every piece offers an unexpected intimacy to the viewer who gazes with purpose, rewarding those who look closely with exquisite details of a petal, leaf, or stem. There are also hidden features only discovered while viewing the work from multiple angles. Viewing the piece from the bottom, for example, reveals that the cut flowers are not frozen in midair, but are rooted in the earth and rendered with intact root systems. In a subtle flourish, Stankard at times incorporates Magical Realism in the form of human figures entwined in the roots, underscoring the metaphoric aspect of his work. Viewed from above, insects, usually honeybees, will sometimes circle the scene, adding layers of form and meaning with depictions of pollination and life cycles.

This exhibition is made possible through the support of the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation (www.rmmfoundation.org), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the mission of promoting the understanding, appreciation, and overall success of the glass arts, and to support human services and provider organizations worldwide.

WheatonArts is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Open July 4. For more information about WheatonArts, call 1-800-998-4552 or 856-825-6800, or visit online at wheatonarts.org. Please submit requests for press images to wheatonartsnews@wheatonarts.org.

WheatonArts strives to ensure the accessibility of its exhibitions, events, and programs to all persons with disabilities. Please provide two weeks notice of additional needs. Patrons with hearing and speech disabilities may contact WheatonArts through the New Jersey Relay Service (TRS) 800-852-7899 or by dialing 711.

Funding for WheatonArts has been made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the

Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey Cultural Trust. WheatonArts receives general operating support from the New Jersey Historical Commission, Division of Cultural Affairs in the New Jersey Department of State, and is supported in part by the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism.

About WheatonArts

WheatonArts and Cultural Center, founded as Wheaton Village in 1968, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to engage artists and audiences in an evolving exploration of creativity. The mission will be advanced through the interpretation of collections and exhibitions; education initiatives and culturally diverse public programs; residencies and other opportunities for artists. With a history spanning four decades, WheatonArts has earned regional, national and international recognition for its unique collections and programs. The Museum of American Glass is at the heart of the Center, housing the most comprehensive collection of glass produced in America – from the first glass bottles made in America to celebrated works by Dale Chihuly, Paul Stankard, and other contemporary artists who work in glass. Visitors experience the art of glassmaking, ceramics and flameworking in the Artist Studios. From April through December the Museum of American Glass and Gallery of Fine Craft present special exhibitions. WheatonArts also offers traditional and multi-cultural programs, classes, workshops, performances, and weekend festivals. The award-winning Museum Stores offer traditional and contemporary art and craft in all mediums.