Biography

At the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Toots Zynsky (b. 1951, Boston, Massachusetts) studied with a group of pioneering glass artists including the well-known glassblower Dale Chihuly who is credited with bringing the field of glasswork to critical attention. Zynsky and her classmates were the first generation to explore the emerging field of glass art in the newly established glass department at RISD. The experimental ethos of her early training remained central to the development of her own visual language. In the 1970s, Zynsky integrated glass into video work, introducing the medium as another valuable currency in the making of contemporary art; her exploration of the medium continued through the decade as she infused her glass sculptures with wire, cloth, and light. By 1980 she became Assistant Director of the New York Experimental Glass Shop (now known as UrbanGlass). She developed the technique that would come to define her oeuvre in 1982. This ‘filet-de-verre’ technique involves fusing glass threads together—first by mold and then by hand—which creates a titillating interaction between twisted and stretched forms. She eventually moved to Europe and maintained studios in Amsterdam and Paris before moving back to the States in 1999. Throughout her career, Zynsky has used her curiosity to innovate the medium of glass. Her colorful and dynamic sculptures are held in institutional collections worldwide including the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Sapporo; Musée de Design et d’Arts Appliqués, Lausanne; and the Musei Civici Veneziani, Venice, among others.

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