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Heller Gallery presents Portraits in Pearls, Laura Kramer’s fourth gallery exhibition featuring nine organically shaped blown glass forms sumptuously embellished with sparkling crystals, glass pearls and colored glass rods.
The pieces are inspired by the historic impact and cultural significance that New World riches imparted on European powers starting in the Tudor period (1485-1603) and illustrated in portraits of Tudor period royalty, famous for encrusting their dazzling garments in pearls and gemstones.
Says Kramer, “Having focused much of my previous work on themes of minerals and gems I am drawn to the pearl as the oldest known gemstone, with specimens having been found fossilized in Stone Age graves. Throughout history pearls have been associated with the moon and its mythologies, love and purity, goddesses and their tears, as well as with earthly power. My interest in cultural anthropology and cabinets of curiosities ultimately led me to La Peregrina - The Wanderer, a fabulous pearl that became a symbol of sovereignty and repeatedly changed hands and countries with the ebb and flow of European history. The largest tear drop pearl ever found in the New World, La Peregrina embodied the fate of nations and has been represented in paintings from the time of Henry VIII to Elizabeth Taylor.”
At the turn of the 19th & 20th centuries Japanese entrepreneur and inventor Kokichi Mikimoto successfully grew a cultured pearl and his patented technology eventually democratized the access to pearls. No longer solely the symbol of wealth and power, the modern pearl now personifies the maxim of Heraclitus that "change is the only constant in life."
Artist and designer, Laura Kramer has a strikingly broad academic background and work experiences from around the globe inform her practice. She holds BFA and MFA degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design and Ohio State University as well as an MA in Anthropology & Material Culture from Columbia University, where she also studied Archeology. Kramer has worked on excavations in the Netherlands Antilles, cast bronze at Paolo Solaris Arcosanti, and blown glass in Kenya and Denmark. Her pieces and installations have been featured in Elle Decor, New York Times Magazine, InStyle, Architectural Digest and American Craft magazine, among others.
Heller Gallery, founded in 1973 in New York, provides a curated platform for studio artists whose practice incorporates glass and whose work with the material broadens the horizons of contemporary culture. We identify, nurture and represent emerging artists as well as prominent international masters.
Numerous artworks have entered preeminent public collections as a direct result of Heller Gallery's exhibitions and advocacy. New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art have acquired works from the gallery as has The Corning Museum of Glass, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and numerous museums worldwide, including Victoria & Albert Museum, Musee des Arts Decoratifs de Louvre, and Hokkaido Museum, among others.
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