Museum of Glass presets its first exhibition of jewelry, Linda MacNeil: Jewels of Glass. Linda MacNeil has been a pioneer in both the Studio Jewelry and Studio Glass movements since the 1970s. Emerging during that decade with formal training in metalsmithing, MacNeil began fashioning a body of work that combines glass and nonprecious metals—more recently augmenting them with precious materials—to make exquisite articles of adornment not rooted in narrative.
MacNeil’s sophisticated statements over her more than 40-year career have ranged from playful, often surrealistic pronouncements to formal compositions that sometimes reference the fine jewelry from the great international houses of the 20th century. What unites all MacNeil’s work is her passion for making and a concern for materiality that results in her pushing to the limits the inherent characteristics of the glass—specifically, its transparency, opacity, and reflective and refractive qualities. When juxtaposed with elegant, restrained, symmetrically arranged, and often visually understated metalwork, the glass rivals precious gems and evokes jewelry and metalsmithing from ancient times through the Art Deco period to 20th- and 21st-century innovations. [...]
To date, MacNeil has created more than 700 necklaces, brooches, and earrings. This retrospective exhibition and accompanying monograph, organized by guest curator Davira S. Taragin, is the first to explore in depth the development of MacNeil’s work and her contribution to late 20th- and 21st-century American jewelry. The monograph, published by Arnoldsche Art Publishers, Stuttgart, includes a major essay by Davira S. Taragin that covers MacNeil’s biography, with discussions of the development of her aesthetic and her influences. Noted jewelry historian, Ursula Ilse-Neuman, contextualizes MacNeil’s contribution within the international art jewelry movement generally, and in particular, the use of glass in jewelry over the centuries. The fully illustrated publication also contains an exhibition history, select bibliography, and a list of museum collections where MacNeil’s work can be found.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.