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In a New Show, Thaddeus Wolfe Takes Glass in an Unexpected Direction

Though the design world’s schedule isn’t quite as grueling as fashion’s, it is generally accepted that independent designers will come up with at least one new collection per year. Which is what makes it all the more interesting to follow an artist like Thaddeus Wolfe, who has spent his career releasing new work that employs the same material over and over again and uses similar processes, but pushes both to their utmost extremes. Such singlemindedness of purpose calls to mind Cody Hoyt’s work in ceramics or Chris Schanck’s in metal, where innovation comes in increments and each new work is a fascinating evolution of the last.

Wolfe’s new show at Volume Gallery, though, while still preoccupied with glass as a totemic, assembled structure, adds a new element into the mix. Inspired by the interplay of light as it’s filtered through glass, Wolfe decided to incorporate neon as another way to explore the interaction between the two. Called Dead Frame, the exhibition is named for a term used in the neon sign industry, referring to the structure upon which neon tubes are mounted. Wolfe’s new creations look simultaneously like armature and object; the vessels in the exhibition are, without a doubt, some of the best he’s made. If you’re in Chicago, get there before it closes November 5.

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