Studio Glass pioneer Sidney Hutter creates three-dimensional sculptural objects in which the intersection of form, glass, color and light unite to create works of art with an amazing and ever-changing spectrum of color, reflection, and refraction. Transformed from industrial plate glass into beautiful objects, Hutter’s iconic non-functional vessel sculptures read more like “three-dimensional paintings.” Hutter states: “As a glass sculptor, my interest is in the effects of light reflecting and refracting off and through glass. By laminating layers of glass, I am able to emphasize and manipulate the effects of light using color, shape and surface treatments.” After a fire temporarily closed the glassblowing studio during his second year in the graduate glass program at the Massachusetts College of Art, Hutter developed his layered and coldworked vessels. In the late 1970s, he was in the unique position of creating art uninhibited by financial pressures. The artist immersed himself in the idea of making large-scale glass sculptures based on historical glass research and influenced by his interest in architecture and work by his hero, David Smith. He focused on the creation of his Plate Glass Vase series, with which he entered the gallery world. Hutter says: “Now, 40 years later, it is inspiring to look back at the complex and unique pieces created during that time of freedom and ultimate creativity.”
Post-graduation, Hutter became an instructor at Massachusetts College of Art, Boston University and in Boston Public Schools. In 1980, he founded Sidney Hutter Glass & Light in Boston and later moved his studio to its current location in Newton, Massachusetts. There, he continues to create sculptures which combine fine art and glass craft with commercial processes used in architectural glass, adhesive and pigment industries.
During the heyday of Studio Glass, Hutter’s art and process became increasingly more technical. In response, he co-designed and fabricated machines to help make his work more efficient. His interests in glass, ultraviolet light and adhesive technology, and pigment applications have taken him around the country – attending conferences and researching the latest advancements in those fields. Through conversations with industry leaders, he has been able to adapt commercial processes to his studio practice and create landscapes of color between layers of glass.
Hutter’s work is represented by the country’s finest galleries and included in numerous private and public collections as well as major museums in the US, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Art and Design in New York and the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC. In 1993, White House Vase #1 became part of the White House Craft Collection. The artist has created commercial projects for the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong, the Hyatt on Collins in Melbourne, Australia, as well as for the Pittsburgh Gateway Hilton and the Righa Royal Hotel in Osaka, Japan, to name just a few.
With a career spanning more than four decades, Hutter has been an eyewitness to the changes in Studio Glass. In this conversation, he contemplates a shift in focus to include more lighting projects in his studio practice and reflects on advancing technology, economic highs and lows, and the ever-shifting interests of collectors and galleries.
Throughout the years, Hutter has developed a unique design style – influenced and cultivated from his passion for art and architecture and melded with his interest in the commercial glass and adhesive technology industries. He adapted information, materials, and equipment into a unique studio practice, which contributed greatly to the glass art movement. His work will be on view in a spectacular collaborative show, Masters of Modern Glass, at Shaw Gallery, in Naples, Florida, with Richard Royal, Toland Sand, Rick Eggert, Tom Marosz, and Alex Bernstein. It opens March 3, 2022.