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Influential glass artist David Huchthausen returns home with Woodson exhibition

3:25 PM, Nov. 13, 2013  |  Comments
This piece, 'Echo Chamber,' was created by Huchthausen in 1999.
This piece, 'Echo Chamber,' was created by Huchthausen in 1999.
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A new exhibition at the Woodson Art Museum will put in the spotlight the 40-year career of Seattle artist David Huchthausen, who got his start in central Wisconsin and has gone on to have a lasting impact on American glass art.

"Huchthausen: A Glass Retrospective" opens Saturday at the Woodson, 700 N. 12th St. He'll be in Wausau for the opening and will lead two gallery walks at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday.

It's a homecoming for him. He's a native of Wisconsin Rapids. In 1970, while he was a student at the University of Wisconsin Marathon County, he discovered and began experimenting with an abandoned glass furnace.

He later studied at UW-Madison and went on to become a Fulbright scholar, university professor and museum consultant. Huchthausen also developed "Americans in Glass" exhibitions for the Woodson in 1978, 1981, and 1984 that documented the evolution of American studio glass.

An early interest in primitive art and ritual is evident in Huchthausen's figurines from the 1970s, followed by fantasy and landscape vessels comprising seven or eight layers of hot blown glass that cast mysterious, shifting shadows. By the 1980s, his focus shifted to cold glass materials and processes, and he was creating his trademark integral color laminations and spheres.

"One of the advantages of having worked as an artist for 42 years is that you can look back at your older work free of the emotional intensity that enveloped it at the time," Huchthausen said in a press release. "Looking back and studying how one series morphed and mutated into the next over the years provides clearer insights into the origins and concepts at the heart of the most recent work."

Another exhibition, "Tranformation 8: Contemporary Works in Small Metals," will open along with the Huchthausen retrospective. It will feature jewelry, vessels and plates created by more than two dozen internationally recognized and emerging artists.

"Huchthausen: A Glass Retrospective" and "Transformation 8" will remain on view at the Woodson through Jan. 19.

Admission is free. Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; and 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. the first Thursday of each month. For more information, log on to www.lywam.org or call 715-845-7010.

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