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An exhibition of glass objects by Michael Behrens is an invitation to explore the depth of glass and color. Like the theme and source of inspiration of his recent work, the underwater world, his kiln formed objects seem fluid and organic. The shapes remind of fish and shells. Colors layered in transparent patterns combined with clear glass, offer shifts in perception when one moves around them, like an aquarium. Though the patterns are accurately structured, the thickness of the glass creates optical delusions.
Looking into the sides of the shallow disks one can see an exciting play of lines, volume and shades of color in motion, almost like amorphous lenses as air bubbles under water can do. Cellular structures in mixed colors, transparent and opaque, are slightly deformed by the melting process but keep rhythm and line.
It seems Michael Behrens did not just look through his goggles but used a microscope as well. An interesting effect asking for further exploration. It gives his work often an abstract feel, which does not always match the outline of the shapes he designed. However, the size and thickness of the slightly bent plates make them monumental and they present as sculptural rather then vessel like. Nature itself is the finest example and the greatest master of color and form, showing incredible possibilities, refined and grotesque and is therefore an eternal tutor for artists.
Though Michael claims to be inspired by nature, it is easy to recognize his technical mind and skills. Glass obviously has his full attention and by experimenting the possibilities of kiln formed glass; he is developing a style of his own.
His objects are built from layers of glass, cut in patterns and carefully fused. Using sheets, grits and powders, colors and patterns are created. These thick plates are sometimes sliced up and fused again to get layer over layer. Combining these layers result in complicated patterns that lead the eye in and out like the intricate structures of Arabic mosaics.
Slumping and bending, often using a particular stencil, create the shapes of the objects. The polished rims allow the light to enter from all sides, illuminating the color patterns and creating exciting inner reflections. It seems that Behrens with his analytical mind and interest in technique, can push the possibilities of kiln formed glass further. His artistic challenge might not be to put his findings into shape, but to find shapes that enhance his findings, thus creating abstract three- or even four dimensional glass “paintings”. So far, he has proven to be a welcome new contributor to international glass art.