February 20, 2008

Glass artist Rick Beck to present free lecture

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The University Museum at Southern Illinois University Carbondale presents a free lecture by glass artist Rick Beck during an exhibition reception on Feb. 29.

The reception is at the museum in Faner Hall from 4 to 7 p.m. Beck will discuss his glass art from 5 to 6 p.m. Beck is known for his mega-sized cast glass sculptures of mechanical objects such as screws, bolts and spoons, often in deep and vibrant hues and generally a few feet larger than the objects that inspired them. The works are a fascinating blend of industrial strength and delicate medium. In addition, by enlarging the items and presenting them in glass as art, he highlights the unexpected beauty of line and detail in items rarely appreciated for their own worth.

For Beck, his visit to SIUC is a sort of homecoming. He earned a master's of fine arts degree from SIUC in 1989, working in the glass program with Bill Boysen, now professor emeritus. Since then, he has gone on to national recognition, solo exhibits in major galleries and museums and art pieces valued sometimes in the thousands of dollars. Critics refer to his sculpture as approachable, beautiful, thought-provoking and reverent.

Beck also teaches his craft, offering workshops at glass programs such as the Penland School of Crafts in Penland, N.C., the Pilchuk Glass School in Stanwood, Wash., and the Appalachian Center for Crafts in Smithville, Tenn. Beck plans workshops for SIUC students in the glass program at the School of Art and Design during his visit.

Beck's exhibit is on display now and runs through April 17. His visit is sponsored in part by the Student Fine Arts Fee Committee and the School of Art and Design.