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Currently shown
Beth Lipman

Tea Table II

Artist

Beth Lipman
Born in Philadelphia in 1971

Title

Tea Table II

Date

2005

Materials

Blown and hot-sculptured glass, gilt decoration, painted wood

Dimensions

135 cm (approx. h.), 68 cm (approx. diam.)

Credits

Gift, Anna and Joe Mendel Collection, inv. 2013.230

Collection

Decorative Arts and Design

For a number of years, this glass artist has been paying tribute to still life, especially that of the seventeenth century’s Golden Age of Dutch painting. She explores this tradition’s symbolism of prosperity and lavish abundance, drawing parallels between the genre and today’s rampant consumerism. Her complex assemblages evoke the still lifes of the Haarlem school. Like her Dutch predecessors, Lipman is interested in textures, detailed surfaces and realistic light effects. Having created glasses, vessels, dishes and food items in clear blown glass (flameworked or thermo-formed, and sometimes highlighted with enamel), she arranges them on wooden tables of varying sizes – suitable for a banquet or, as here, a simple tea. This unique composition is an imaginative adaptation of still life, a three-dimensional interpretation that is tangible and yet elusive, owing to the intrinsic qualities of the glass itself, which reflects, refracts and alters forms. The crowded objects, which the artist often presents off balance, tipped over or broken, conjure the fragility of human life.

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