A GLASS ACT

Lisa Cahill has been making glass art for more than 20 years, mixing the precise science of glasswork with her appreciation for a sense of place expressed through abstract interpretations. Her pieces reflect built and organic environments, connecting urban architecture, memories, and her passion for natural landscape.

Cahill grew up with an affinity for glass and ceramic, which solidified when she spent time with family in Denmark, where beautifully designed glass bowls graced most homes. Much of her work evokes textures and tones of Nordic landforms and vast Australian landscapes.  

Cahill's dreamlike art allows viewers to draw associations with their own remembered landscapes, resulting in a meditative and emotional response. Working on a variety of scales and building art from a series of panels allows Cahill to create pieces for internal and external domestic settings as well as large public art.

Cahill exhibits nationally and internationally and has been awarded numerous grants and prizes, including multiple Australia Council for the Arts New Work grants. After establishing several artist group studios in Sydney and Melbourne, she now works from a glass studio in Canberra, Australia.

Here’s what Cahill has to say about the transfer of sentiment from artist to end user: “I really hope the viewer gets joy from my work. I aim to create works that can be abstract enough that it reminds them of a place they love. It's a little bit like how the scent of a perfume might conjure a memory of a person. I hope my artwork takes the viewer somewhere that they remember fondly.”

 


 

CONNECTING WITH NATURE

As a child, Fred Danziger happily drew elephants or clowns with crayons for his mother, who would delight over the finished pictures and reward him with milk and cookies. Today, his intricately detailed paintings are included in over 100 public collections and he still gets a rush when someone appreciates the feelings he’s captured.

“When I see my work installed in someone’s home and know they love having that piece as part of their life, I feel that we share a certain bond,” he says. “It’s a connection with someone. They get it; they love nature the same way I do. When you find people who are moved and the painting speaks to them, it’s very gratifying.”

Fred draws inspiration from walks in the woods, working to depict three-dimensional form as accurately as possible and achieving near photorealism with broad landscapes and up-close depictions of the natural environment. A master of details, his paintings of leaves, water - even dew-dappled blades of grass - become almost abstract compositions that combine nuances of light, texture and color to give the sense of being present in the scene.

“I don’t try to emulate photography in my paintings; I try to go way beyond what a camera sees,” he says. “A lot of it is just a feeling you get. You’re trying to express that sense of air and light and sunlight, just letting nature wash over you.”

Those sensations were impressed on him from his early childhood in Pittsburgh’s Chartiers Terrace, where he and his friends spent days wandering through nearby farms and orchards, hiking in the woods and fishing in meandering streams.

Over the years, Fred has been honored with several major awards, including the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art’s 2018 Award for Artistic Distinction, recognizing him for an extraordinary body of work. He was educated at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where he later shared his passion for painting as an adjunct professor. He counts masters like John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer and Edgar Degas as influencers, along with his high school art teacher in Crafton, John Dropcho, who gave him the confidence to pursue painting as a career.

After immersing himself in painting the natural world - scenes of streams, leaves, water - Fred has expanded his work to include cityscapes and people.

 

“There’s an artist named George Bellows who inspires me in that he was an amazing landscapist, but he also did paintings with boxers in a boxing ring and cityscapes,” Fred says. “I like the idea that an artist has a range, not just a ‘one-note’ kind of artist. At the moment, I’m interested in neighborhoods and people.”

 

His work has been a longtime favorite among James Gallery clients, our founder, James Frederick, says.

 

“He loves nature and nuance, from mist to light filtering through leaves,” he says. “He’s an artist who came from a place when he was younger of paintings that were almost photosurreal. As he evolved, his paintings were much more about what he saw. Fred paints with infinite detail.”

 

His ability to depict even sublevel details - leaves that have slipped underneath a stream surface in “November Rain,” for example - are part of what make his paintings a wonder.

 

“November Rain” happened unexpectedly, a moment where Fred was surprised and delighted by what unfolded before him. He was heading out to paint on a gray day but was interrupted by wet weather. Instead of heading back to his studio, he paused.

 

“I was watching these ellipses, spreading out and out, dotting all over the stream and colliding,” he says. “It appeared beautiful to me. I thought, I’ve got to try to do a painting of this.”

 

Here's a look at the result, set to music and poetry.