When Lightning Blooms ("Aesthetic Engineering series")

When Lightning Blooms ("Aesthetic Engineering series")

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Object Name: 
When Lightning Blooms ("Aesthetic Engineering series")
Accession Number: 
Overall H: about 106.7 cm, about W: 96.5 cm, about D: 61 cm
Not on Display
Web Description: 
Ginny Ruffner is an artist who is recognized for her versatility in glass and in combining glass with other materials. She is a pioneer in the field of contemporary flameworking, encouraging her students and other artists to break away from the traditional themes of flameworked glass and to develop flameworking as a means of expression for art. She is best known for her large, symbolic flameworked sculptures that combine sandblasted borosilicate glass with colored paints and pencils. Throughout her career, she has worked at developing her iconographical repertoire, creating a personal language of signs and symbols. More recently, Ruffner has also explored large-scale sculpture and installations, using blown glass and mixed media. Her latest public art project, which took seven years from inception to completion, is a giant metal flowerpot, containing giant metal flowers with moving petals, for a downtown street corner in the middle of Seattle’s busy retail and restaurant core. “My intention has always been to get people to think creatively,” Ruffner says. “By recontextualizing familiar objects, the mind can go to work without the individual even realizing it: what interests me most is the moment when the mind moves from the known to the unknown.” This sentiment informs Ruffner’s most recent “Aesthetic Engineering” series, which was inspired by “recent and extraordinary developments in genetic engineering.” Ruffner created a series of “visual thought experiments” in which she investigated unusual hybridizations. What if, for example, lightning could produce flowers? What would they look like? When Lightning Blooms is her imaginative response. Signed: “Ginny Ruffner ’03.” The sculpture was recently featured in the traveling exhibition “Ginny Ruffner: Aesthetic Engineering, the Imagination Cycle,” organized by the Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, Washington, 2007–2011. For more information, see the documentary Ginny Ruffner: A Not So Still Life, directed by Karen Stanton, ShadowCatcher Entertainment, 2010. See also the pop-up books created by the artist with the paper engineer Bruce Foster: Ginny Ruffner, The Imagination Cycle, La Conner, Washington: Museum of Northwest Art, 2008; and Ginny Ruffner, Creativity: The Flowering Tornado, Montgomery, Alabama: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 2003.
Aesthetic Engineering
Ginny Ruffner Studios (American, b. 1952), Source
Ginny Ruffner '03
Engraved (-1) inside of one leg
Primary Description: 
Blown glass; bronze, stainless steel. Blue, black, and colorless glass, blown and hot-worked. Fabricated stainless steel and bronze sheets, cut, welded, bent, and joined. Sculpture in the form of a giant flower with upright black glass elements forming the central petals of the flower. The central portion is surrounded by blue and black glass blown elements, which form additional petals of the flower. The bronze and steel base is in the form of a large abstracted leaf.
Crafts Scene: Trends: Glimpses of 2014 (2014-01) illustrated, p. 12, top, left; BIB# AI95872
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2011 (2012) p. 9;
Corning Museum of Glass Calendar (2012) illustrated, p. 4; BIB# AI91305
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2011 (2012) illustrated, p. 65; BIB# AI87745
Recent Important Acquisitions (New Glass Review 33) (2012) illustrated, p. 118, left; BIB# AI87134
Jurors' Choice (New Glass Review 32) (2011) illustrated, p. 89, top; BIB# AI95693