Glass art glitters

Andy Gersh's first solo exhibition at the Burbank Creative Arts Center, "GLASS: Contemporary Fusion," with its fantastic bursts of color, clever titles and shapes lives up to the glass artist's motto: "This is not your grandmother's stained glass."

There are 100 pieces in the display that range from $150 to more than $2,000 as well as a few pieces that are not for sale, including "Zen Garden," a plate-shaped piece with horizontal grain brushes of white and purple, and "3-Martini Lunch," a framed geometric piece that evokes a 1960s retro feel.

With the variety and depth of works brightening up the atmosphere at the center, it's no wonder that Gersh's guestbook was filled with praise on opening night, including one comment that read "you're the glassiest guy in the world."

A graduate of Cal Arts, Gersh has been working with glass since 2000. His pieces have been commissioned by small businesses, film and television productions and private residences, according to his website, andygersh.com. He also has a store on the craft-selling site Etsy.com where he sells pendants in addition to his glasswork.

His vibrant pieces offer visitors visual eye candy that extends beyond the canvas, embracing beautiful imperfections that glass art can produce, rather than frowning upon them.

That's certainly evident in "Moss," a fluorescent yellow wall hanging with blue accents that, although small, is one of Gersh's standout pieces because of its unusual shape.

"Toasted Marshmellows," a framed bright-red piece, is aptly named — the long strokes that end with explosions of color at their base are certainly reminiscent of the campfire treat.

In fact, "Toasted Marshmellows" seems to capture the effect of Gersh's work best. His pieces aren't just beautiful; they make you think, whether a glass artwork seems to paint a picture of a particular place, like his piece "Barcelona," or evoke memories, like "Small World," a fused glass panel inspired by Disneyland's "It's a Small World" ride, which opened in 1966.

Perhaps what separates Gersh from other artists is the fact that he produces functional pieces, also called functional artwork. One piece in his exhibit that fits the bill is "Hat-Trick," a bowl made to look like an upside down top hat, complete with big zigzag brushes of orange, yellow and red stripes, definitely turning it into a conversation piece.

And while many of his pieces are tributes to a bygone era, Gersh not only puts a contemporary spin on them, but also has many modern pieces in the mix, including the stunning "Poppies," made with opaque and transparent glass, copper wires and frit — a fused ceramic composition used in making glass. Doubling as a platter, "Poppies" contains rows of glass with bold specks of color finishing out the look.

"GLASS: Contemporary Fusion" will open your eyes and senses to a thousand-year-old craft whose appeal has definitely been underrated in recent years. A quiet stroll through the exhibit on a Saturday morning is enough to leave a lasting impression.

LIANA AGHAJANIAN is a writer and editor who has been covering arts, culture and news in print and online for a number of years.

Infobox

What: Andy Gersh's "GLASS: Contemporary Fusion"

When: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, until July 29

Where: Creative Arts Center Gallery. 1100 W. Clark Ave., Burbank

Admission: Free

Contact: Gallery — (818) 238-5397; Andy Gersh — http://www.andygersh.com

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