I explore line and gesture as wearable sculpture. My work conveys movement - flowing, organic - evoking the essence of natural forms.
I am intrigued by sinuous art nouveau lines, tree branches silhouetted against the sky, and diagrams of old Masters paintings, where gesture can carry your eye through the painting.
Each of us has a personal symbolism: a battered antique clock, a seedling, a waterfall, or leaves and vines may evoke associations and meaning.
Recently, I've combined elements like these - made of glass, silver, and mixed media - into wall sculptures. Each person is encouraged to respond to them and find their own associations or stories. My sculptural pieces have an unusually intimate aspect: a chance to extract a detail to wear as jewelry. The silver seedling becomes a ring; a glass stalactite hangs as a pendant.
Nature and landscape, the "accident" of found objects, time, balance, telling a story (that the viewer creates or participates in), are all woven into my work.
Beth Hylen - Biography
Beth Hylen has been intrigued with glass since childhood: with her father, she watched glowing gobs of optical glass shoot thorough a massive machine; studied the elegant, sparkling Steuben Shop with her Aunt Tillie; and observed lampworkers creating fanciful animals. Beth’s Barbie doll had glass tables made of optical blanks!
Years later, Beth explores line and gesture as wearable sculpture using glass, metal clay, and mixed media. She says: “I enjoy the moment when glass is between being molten and frozen into shape, when it responds to my touch and the heat of the torch.”
Beth Hylen’s artwork is informed by her experience as Reference Librarian at The Rakow Research Library of The Corning Museum of Glass, where she is immersed in the art and history of glass. Beth explains: “The experience is an incredible opportunity to talk with researchers, students and artists about their work, as well as absorb ideas from artists who visit CMoG and participants at the Glass Art Society. I even got to handle ancient glass - the iridescence flaked off on my fingers.”
Her museum experience led to a desire to explore glassmaking. In 1987 she started with stained glass and fusing; then furnace work at New York Experimental Glass Workshop, Horizons, Studio Access to Glass, and with friends. At CMoG's Studio, she experimented with pate de verre and developed her lampworking skills. In 2005, she began working with fine silver.
She learned to melt and shape borosilicate glass at the torch with Sally Prasch, who conveys the power of precise techniques and a talent for communicating ideas and with Susan Plum, who delves into emotional and spiritual expression. Martha Bigger, a gifted teacher, shared her metal clay and fusing techniques.
Recent one or two-person exhibitions include “Emerging Landscape” at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake, NY; “TRANSPERSONAL: Glass and Silver by Beth Hylen,” at the Spotlight Gallery @ The ARTS, Corning, NY; and “Optical/Lyrical: Beth Hylen and Syau-Cheng Lai,” 171 Cedar Arts Center, Corning, NY.
Beth Hylen participated in exhibits at the “New York Foundation for the Arts @ DUMBO Arts Festival,” Brooklyn, NY; State of the Art Gallery, Ithaca, NY; Columbia County Council on the Arts, Stuyvesant, NY; Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, Toledo, OH; Art Association of Oswego, Oswego, NY (Honorable Mention); Lexington Art League, Lexington, KY; and frequent shows at the Atrium Gallery, Corning, NY and ARTS of the Southern Finger Lakes.
Her wearable art is featured in publications, including Women Working in Glass; 500 Glass Objects: a Celebration of Functional & Sculptural Glass; 500 Necklaces; New Glass Review; PMC Annual 2 and 3; Flow Magazine; Laura Donefer’s Glass Fashion Extravaganza; and The Joy of Coldworking. She has participated in invitational benefit auctions at the James Renwick Alliance, Washington, DC; the NationalLibertyMuseum, Philadelphia, PA; and the SmithsonianAmericanArt Museum, Washington, DC. She was awarded New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) SOS grants in 2010 and 2006. She participated in the NYFA MARK program in 2011.
Beth teaches at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass and 171 Cedar Arts Center in Corning, NY. She was a teaching assistant at these glassmaking schools: The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass, Penland, Pilchuck, PittsburgGlassCenter, and Urban Glass.
In 2010, she served as President of the Art Libraries Society of Western New York. She has lectured at the Glass Art Society; Art Libraries Society of North America; International Flameworking Conference; Carder Steuben Club;
Bower, 17”x10”x8”, Glass, fine silver, nest & wood
“There was never mystery, But ‘tis figured in the flowers; Was never secret history, But birds tell it in the bowers.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson