Farnsworth acquires Remsen’s ‘Claws’

Mar 10, 2019
Photo by: David Troup/ Museum Purchase 2018.10. Richard Furneaux Remsen’s “Glass Claws: Pulse Point” is a 2007 work of blown and hot worked glass with X-ray scan images on plate glass, mounted on a wood base.

Rockland — The Farnsworth Art Museum has announce the acquisition of “Glass Claws: Pulse Point,” a 2007 sculpture by Rockport artist Richard Furneaux Remsen. The work features nearly 100 variously-colored blown-glass lobster claws on cantilevered plate glass sheets, the latter infused with C-ray CAT scans of actual lobster claws. The work has been installed in the museum’s Micah gallery as part of the current “Maine: The Farnsworth Collection” exhibition.

“Glass Claws: Pulse Point” is representative of the innovative uses of glass as a medium that emanated from the influential work and teaching of Dale Chihuly. It combines a variety of techniques to produce a sculptural work distinctly separate from the traditional and utilitarian character of glass objects. Remsen, who studied with Chihuly at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1974, has taken as the subject of this piece one of the most iconic, if not stereotypical, things associated with Maine and transformed it entirely.

A small pile of blown and worked glass lobster claws, done in diverse and decidedly unnatural colors, sits in the center of a four-section glass platform. On each of these sections, an X-ray of a genuine lobster claw has been imprinted, casting the X-ray shadow onto the painted wood platform below. Thus the claws exist in both three dimensions and two, of solid substance in glass and in the elusive immateriality of light and shadow. The work initially went on view at the Farnsworth Art Museum in 2008 as part of the “A Gathering of Glass” exhibition.

Remsen studied at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and received his BFA in Sculpture at RISD in Providence, R.I., in 1974. In addition to Chihuly, Remsen studied glass blowing with Fritz Driesbach, Dan Dailey and Dominic Labino. He returned to Maine and established The Foundry, a sculpture studio specializing in bronze sculpture, as well as blown and cast glass. The Foundry, located in an old blueberry processing building in West Rockport, has a versatile mix of tools and old technologies. The glass shop, one of the first hot glass studios in Maine, continues to be the catalyst of new designs.

“Glass Claws: Pulse Point” was purchased by the museum with funds provided by the Seattle Foundation, Mrs. Jean A. Rhodes, Mr. and Mrs. Ellsworth C. Alvord, III, Mr. and Mrs. Richard W. Alvord and Mrs. Katharyn Alvord Gerlich. Lead sponsors for “Maine: The Farnsworth Collection” are Mrs. F. Eugene Dixon, Camden National Bank, and Down East Magazine. Contributing sponsors are Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, Inc.; and Anne and John Surovek. Sponsors include Allen Insurance and Financial and the Grasshopper Shop of Rockland.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

A detail of Richard Furneaux Remsen’s “Glass Claws: Pulse Point” reveals its multiple blown-and-worked glass lobster claws. (Photo by: David Troup)
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