Portrait of an artist

Posted on October 12, 2010


Katherine wrote:  Steve and I took a drive today over to the Jordan Valley. We came across John T. Unger’s studio and there in front was this sculpture.

We speculated about what John and Katherine’s Aunt Betty (see Still life in blue) would make of each other’s re-use of blue glass, or cobalt glass, depending.

John works in recycled industrial materials like discarded propane tanks. Cut, shaped and pierced with his torch they become exotic firebowls. Even the scrap pile has drama. 

In fact, it might not be a scrap pile. It might be an assemblage. It puts me in mind of the blown glass shapes that Dale Chihuly’s students heap into his Persian vessels. Only, of course, these are metal, and as far as I know John does all the work himself without benefit of apprentices. He’s a hands on kind of guy. I digress.

I have no idea whether these hoops are a scrap pile or Art Supplies.  Either way, they have possibilities, and viewed through Katherine’s lens, they make A Statement. 

She and I have been having a conversation about the nature of creativity and the vocabulary we use to discuss art. We have come to no firm conclusions, but it has been an invigorating exchange and I expect it will get me into trouble sooner or later. And that brings me back to John T. Unger. Thinking about his work, his studio, his persona, is what got us into the conversation to begin with, and that’s just typical. An unusual guy, John.

And now “tomorrow” is over and I have not posted the photos from the glorious Sunday party, but tomorrow is another tomorrow and I will do it then, as soon as Louan has told me all the names I’ve forgotten so that I can put them with the unforgettable faces.