Bouquet of Light
Christopher Ries (American, born 1952)
February 2. Oil on canvas, 43 3/8". 2002.001
Christopher Ries began working in ceramics and hot (blown) glass at Ohio State University (1971–75), before discovering the optical properties of pure glass while working under the legendary Harvey Littleton at the University of Wisconsin (1975 –78). When Ries later discovered a company specializing in the production of optical (extremely pure) glass, he abandoned the techniques of blowing, slumping, and laminating in favor of sculptural techniques: Beginning with a block of solid optical glass, Ries shapes the block with saws and grinders; he polishes the surfaces to perfection and may then engrave the surfaces. As with this work in optical lead crystal, the exteriors are simple, but the refracted and reflected light create complex abstract forms inside the work.