Laura de Santillana (Italian, b. 1955). Flag 12 (Giallo/Nero Diverso/Nero Diverso), 2008. Hand-blown glass and shaped glass. Courtesy of the artist and Barry Friedman Ltd.

The Amazing Glass Work from Three Murano Islanders in Venice

Cristiano Bianchin (Italian, b. 1963). Urna, Raccoglitore di Pensiero (Urn, Thought Collector), 2007. Hand-blown, ground and polished glass, wood, crocheted hemp, steel. Courtesy of the artist and Barry Friedman Ltd.


Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
4525 Oak Street
Kansas City
Venice. 3 Visions in Glass – Cristiano Bianchin, Yoichi Ohira, Laura de Santillana
March 6-August 15, 2010

The Nelson-Atkins is the first of three museum venues for Venice. 3 Visions in Glass, an exhibition of three important contemporary artists who live in Venice and work on the island of Murano, featured in the first exhibition of contemporary glass at the museum. The other venues are The Naples Museum of Art, Naples, Fl., and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

“The Nelson-Atkins does not have a contemporary glass collection, and it is our hope that this exhibition of exceptional pieces by three of the foremost contemporary artists employing glass will stimulate interest in Kansas City and benefit the community and institution by exposing more people to the possibilities of this exciting and beautiful medium,” said Catherine Futter, the Helen Jane and R. Hugh “Pat” Uhlmann Curator of Decorative Arts.

The three artists featured are: Cristiano Bianchin, Yoichi Ohira, and Laura de Santillana.

Cristiano Bianchin, a native Venetian, born in 1963, creates monochromatic vessels and sculptures often sheathed in crocheted hemp and topped with found objects. By combining glass with other media, he has created a series of glass Urns that are conceptual as well as elegant. Their interior spaces suggest historical antecedents and the passage of time. The human condition and form are fundamental themes in his work.
Yoichi Ohira, born 1946, is a Japanese artist has been living and working in Venice for more than 35 years. Ohira’s impressive and unique works are an integration of Japanese aesthetics and traditional Italian glass techniques. His new and innovative Cristallo Sommerso series uses colorless glass vessels within vessels to create a dynamic tension between interior and exterior forms. These quiet sculptures often reference the abstracted human body. Ohira’s Calle di Venezia series presents the viewer with a window into a world of highly saturated abstract mosaics. Ohira’s work is technically challenging and visually stunning. He has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including The Corning Museum of Glass’ Rakow Commission as the top artist working in glass in 2001.
The works of Laura de Santillana, born in Venice in 1955, are richly saturated and organic in nature. With her modernist perspective on this traditional material, de Santillana creates sculptural and glowing compositions of shifting and pure color. Her Flag sculptures employ the sophisticated Italian incalmo technique where glass vessels are blown and then collapsed to create flat stele. The surfaces have a luminous quality nearly impossible to achieve with paint and canvas.


Yoichi Ohira (Japanese, b. 1946). Cristallo Sommerso N. 50 – Scolpito, 2008. Hand-blown glass canes; partial battuto and inciso surface. Courtesy of the artist and Barry Friedman Ltd.