Phillips & Healy, sparkling

Phillips & Healy's 'Splendor in the Glass' at Wheaton
Car­olyn Healy & John Phillips, instal­la­tion in Ema­na­tions: Art + Process

Car­olyn Healy and John Phillips have done it again: they’ve cre­at­ed an art instal­la­tion piece that both trans­forms the space it’s housed in, and crys­tal­lizes some essence of the place.

This time they did it inside a one-room school­house on the grounds of WheatonArts in Mil­lville, New Jer­sey, a nation­al­ly known cen­ter for glass art. Their piece is part of Ema­na­tions: Art + Process, an ambi­tious exhib­it bring­ing in eleven invit­ed artists—some of them expe­ri­enced glass artists, and oth­ers, like Phillips and Healy, who would encounter Wheaton’s impres­sive glass­mak­ing stu­dio for the first time.

The inside of the school­house has become a kind of snow globe, doc­u­ment­ing the his­to­ry of glass­mak­ing at Wheaton, once the epi­cen­ter of the Amer­i­can glass indus­try. The open room is filled with glass objects that Healy unearthed from the back rooms and stor­age bins of WheatonArts, from big bell jars and old phar­ma­cy bot­tles to bear-shaped hon­ey bot­tles. Light-fil­ter­ing film on the win­dows, along with a few spot­lights, makes for a sin­gu­lar atmos­phere filled with odd sparkles and flash­es, and reflec­tions that seem to hov­er in midair. Sug­ges­tive videos on the wall and sound ele­ments by Phillips, seem­ing­ly explor­ing the inner qual­i­ties of glass, some­how com­plete the trans­for­ma­tion of the space into “a semi-trans­par­ent ves­sel itself, a cru­cible for con­tem­pla­tion,” as I wrote in the essay for a cat­a­log to accom­pa­ny the exhib­it.

Donald Lipski
Don­ald Lip­s­ki, Ema­na­tions: Art + Process
Judy Pfaff installation, Emanations: Art + Process
Judy Pfaff instal­la­tion, Ema­na­tions: Art + Process

Most of the Ema­na­tions exhib­it can be seen in the Muse­um of Amer­i­can Glass, and includes such stand­outs as Judy Pfaff’s exu­ber­ant and gaudy fan­ta­sia on a theme of chan­de­liers; Don­ald Lipski’s mis­chief-mak­ing inter­ven­tions into love­ly glass objects; Vir­gil Marti’s dizzy­ing faux-col­lec­tion of exquis­ite­ly hued vas­es; and the sur­re­al “barn­yard ani­mal” forms of Paula Hayes.

Dis­cov­er­ing this adven­tur­ous show at Wheaton, set in a shady pine grove on the sandy soil that made the glass indus­try pos­si­ble, is like find­ing the sparkling innards of a geode. If you go, don’t for­get to walk down the path to the lit­tle school­house with the extra­or­di­nary inte­ri­or, cour­tesy of Phillips and Healy.


EMANATIONS: ART + PROCESS     Artists include Mark Dion, Paula Hayes, Car­olyn Healy and John Phillips, Don­ald Lip­s­ki, Vir­gil Mar­ti, Michael Oat­man, Judy Pfaff, Joce­lyne Prince, Rob Wynn and Mark Zir­pel

Through Jan­u­ary 4, 2016 at WheatonArts, Mil­lville NJ   

Free admis­sion on Wheaton Wide Open Week­ends: Sep­tem­ber 11–13, Octo­ber 23–25, Novem­ber 6–8, and thru Jan­u­ary 2016


8 thoughts on “Phillips & Healy, sparkling”

  1. Neat review, thanks for post­ing. It makes me want to vis­it the exhib­it. Wheaton is a won­der­ful place. One of my children’s plays was pro­duced there many years ago. It’s a cre­ative envi­ron­ment and the glass­works are amaz­ing. Edu­ca­tion­al and inspir­ing — like your review!

    1. Yes, that’s it, Sam! It kind of reminds you how weird and ‘mag­i­cal’ glass real­ly is. And why peo­ple like the glass artists at Wheaton are will­ing to spend hun­dreds of hours mak­ing sand and oth­er stuff into glass.

  2. Phillips & Healy are a most cre­ative cou­ple; their work goes places that are far­way and unknown , dif­fi­cult to find and dif­fi­cult to achieve. There is a high qual­i­ty of dis­cov­ery, oblig­ing objects to define spaces and oblig­ing the view­er to face the aes­thet­ics of the lost and founf imag­i­na­tion. The work is always evoca­tive, oth­er­ly intel­li­gent, emo­tion­al­ly sat­is­fy­ing and intel­lec­tu­al­ly breack­ing fron­tiers.
    Great writ­ting Miri­am and great work Phillips and Healy.

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