From Flame to Flower: The Art of Paul J. Stankard

From Flame to Flower

The Art of Paul J. Stankard

New Jersey’s own Paul J. Stankard (b.1943) is one of the most influential artists to emerge from the Studio Glass movement. His revolutionary approach to flameworking, realistic botanical representations, and elevation of paperweights to fine art have distinguished him as a paramount figure in contemporary American glass. Over the course of the past sixty years, Stankard transformed the floral paperweight from its humble beginnings into an illusory encapsulation with marvelous powers to confound the viewer.

While Stankard’s name is now synonymous with glass, his journey into the art world was not a straightforward path. As a young man he struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia; traditional education was a challenge. After high school he applied to the Scientific Glass program at Salem County Technical Institute (now Salem Community College) where he learned foundational skills, upon which he went on to build a nine-year career in industry for laboratory glass at multinational corporations such as Rohm & Haas. Creative yearnings inspired him to experiment at a home bench where he created his first paperweight in 1969. In 1971, with the support of his wife Pat, Stankard left the scientific glass industry to pursue art full-time.

This exhibition highlights the incredible evolution of Stankard’s mastery over glass featuring a visual survey of his microcosmic botanical studies alongside an in-depth examination of his workmanship and methodology.  From the artist’s earliest paperweights to his assemblages, the artist’s oeuvre unfolds.

This exhibition is organized by Michelle Graves, Morris Museum Curator.

Major support for this exhibition is provided by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass. Additional support is provided by Alan and Melanie Levitan, the Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc., and Schantz Galleries.

Paul Stankard, The Fecundity of Walt Whitman’s Garden, 2021, D. 6.0 inches, Photo: Jeff DiMarco

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