|MEDIUM CASTING (2000), BY RICK BECK|
ACQUIRED FROM GALLERY W.D.O., CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, FEBRUARY 2002
CAST GLASS, 12" LONG BY 6 3/4" IN DIAMETER, SIGNATURE AND DATE ENGRAVED ON THE HEAD OF THE SCREW BY THE ARTIST
Rick Beck is well-known for his much-larger-than-life depictions of such common pieces of hardware as nuts, bolts, saw blades, and pretty much anything else you might find in your local hardware store, executed in cast glass. This is a small example of his work.
Rick first begins by making a blank, a solid object that's the same size and shape as the desired final work. The blank is then used to make a plaster mold. Once the mold is complete, Rick places it in a kiln, and places the raw glass on top of the mold. When the kiln heats up and the glass melts, it flows down into the mold. However, because glass must anneal, Rick can't just turn off the kiln and allow the glass to cool on its own; instead, he programs the kiln to gradually and very slowly lower the temperature within the kiln over a period of days or, in the case of very large works, weeks. For this reason, artists who work with cast glass have to be judicious in their use of their kilns, and try to schedule other work when the kilns are busy cooling down.
In the case of this cast glass screw (I am told that Rick prefers the term Medium Casting to describe a work like this one), Rick used a very nice shade of blue glass. The glass is by no means optically clear, like the cast glass works of Steven Weinberg... rather, it has the same semitranslucent quality as my glass hammer. In addition, Rick has purposely not tried to clean the surface of the finished work, so it contains quite a few patches of plaster, left embedded in the glass from the mold.
I've liked Rick Beck's work for quite a while now, but the opportunity never came around for me to commission one of his works... so when I heard from Rob Williams at Gallery W.D.O. that Rick was no longer going to produce small works like this one (he's concentrating on larger works), I decided to acquire one while I had the chance. I really like how this work transmits light... when lit from behind, it really glows from within.
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