Artist Kevin Shluker realizes sculpture from molten glass that is inspired by his past and present surroundings. Born in the cultural hot bed of what is now the Silicon Valley, Shluker would not find an introduction to glassblowing until 1995, when he made his home in the Pojoaque Valley north of Santa Fe, N.M. After a brief period under the tutelage of Charlie Miner at the Tesuque Glassworks, Shluker decided to pursue his education from the masters of Murano, an island in the Venetian Lagoon known for a millennium of history in the art of glassblowing. Fortune led him to the door of maestro Dino Rosin, who would become Shluker’s friend and mentor. Rosin is a glass master of forty-seven years experience who in his time has collaborated with greats such as Picasso and Chagall.
“Rosin is an unparalleled phenomon whose artistry extends beyond the hot shop. He is also profoundly skilled with the design, chemistry, and cold-work applications that give a true artist command of the material. Too many are led by the glass, few have the ability to create according to their own fantasies.” Rosin’s wholesale approach to sculpture in glass gave Shluker the inspiration to move beyond simple glassblowing and seek to evoke his own spirit in the sculpture of this incredibly difficult material.
This path he followed upon return to New Mexico where he sought collaboration with the many great thinkers attracted to the art, science, and spirit that magically conglomerate between Santa Fe, Taos, and Los Alamos. Physicists from the National Laboratories and The Santa Fe Institute worked with Shluker to realize their fields of study in three-dimensions. Included among these are Nobel Prize winner, Murray Gell-Mann and Lee Nichol, author and collaborator with David Bohm (himself a friend and collaborator of diverse thinkers like Einstein and the Dalai Lama). Shluker also found opportunity to work with great minds of the spiritual realm including T.K.V. Desikachar and his prodigy, Sonia Nelson. Additionally, he was able to collaborate with Patricia Strout, a grand blacksmith whose support brought incomparable changes to Shluker's work. Despite these great partnerships Shluker’s spirit called him elsewhere.
“I could not find peace with the materials and energies that were required to maintain a furnace full of 2100° glass. I wanted to continue to use glass but in a manner more akin to painting, that I could focus on a piece for a period without the demands of production required to maintain the costs of a traditional shop. The ecological toll of such consumption never accorded with the tranquility and fragility I seek to express in my work.”
This change of focus included a desired change of location. Shluker constructed a miniaturized studio that could be transported easily from place to place. He began explorations with the new techniques required to work at such a scale, and meanwhile traveled the country in search of a permanent home. Temporary waysides included Monterey, Seattle, upstate NY, New Orleans, and Waveland, MS among other posts. Transient, that is until traveling along the Oregon Coast on a sunny weekend where his heart jumped ship and demanded that the body follow. There, Shluker has made his home where he continues explorations with this unique approach. He has found that the lush and oversized environment of the Oregon wilderness has shaped his art as much as the misted and dramatic scapes of Venice, or the arid and expansive badlands of New Mexico. See in his work the life that emerges from the roots that enstrangle, here in the verdant vastness of the Oregon Coast.