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Review: Ben Johnson, Crossing Smoothness

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Review: Ben Johnson, Crossing Smoothness

Ben Johnson, "Lines into Shapes II"

In "Twisted Blue Venetian," a blown glass vase that's part of Ben Johnson's show at Carmel's

ArtSplash Gallery, a blue line rises on clear glass like a road winding its way up a mountain. Johnson,

who works out of Cicero, Ind., mastered many of his glass-making techniques in Italy - hence the

title of the aforementioned work. Johnson seems happy to make work like this - vases that you can

appreciate for their decorative qualities and masterful craftsmanship - but his work is most engaging

when he creates with conceptual elements in mind.

His vessel "Lines into Shapes II" bears multiple X-shaped motifs that look like graffiti tagging by an

alien species. Johnson demonstrates with the piece that his work can carry conceptual weight and be as

colorful as any painter's canvas. Other works abandon any pretense of functionality - not that anyone

would want to use even one of his functional vases for any old flowers - and journey into the world

of glass sculpture. "Ascension into the Unknown" is such a work. It suggests a boat, perhaps, crossing

into the celestial realm, and was realized through a variety of hot and cold glass-working techniques.

But my favorite work here, the phenomenal "Moonfield," maintains a vessel form even as it suggests

the spherical shape of the earth's closest celestial companion. This work of sandblasted, blown glass

approximates, if such a thing is possible, a lunar mirror turned upon Hoosier corn country in the dead

of winter.

seniors all ages family friendly 21 and over contributed sponsored

Writer Arts, Faith & Equity

Having lived and worked in Indy on and off since 1977, and currently living in Carmel, I've seen the city change a great deal. I love covering the arts in all its forms, and the places where the arts and broader cultural issues intersect.

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