Nathan Sandberg: reinventing glass art

by Solenne de Tassigny | Staff Writer

The Whitworth University Bryan Oliver Gallery recently opened a new display of the original work of glass artist and educator, Nathan Sandberg.

On Feb. 19 at 6 p.m., Sandberg, who has a BFA in both ceramics and glass from Southern Illinois University, gave a lecture on his work at a reception in the Lied Center for the Visual Arts.

Before elaborating on his work process, Samberg spoke on the nature of his exhibit, “Currently”. His work being shown at Whitworth represents what Samberg deems his “turning point” in his studio practice.

Before Whitworth reached out to Samberg, he explained that he “had great ideas and concepts in my head, but nowhere for them to go.”

Sandberg’s most recent work combines skills from both of his areas of expertise. Creating his art using “kiln formed glass,” Sandberg is considered a trailblazer for an entirely new artform.

“I’ve been living with glass for about 20 years now,” said Sandberg.

While Sandberg has always combined his knowledge of both glass and ceramics, his previous work took on a different style.

Sandberg describes his old work as “focusing on the details of the built environment.”

“People never seemed to fully appreciate it,” he said.

Sandberg’s more abstract art, specifically the art being displayed in the Bryan Oliver Gallery, is a substantial change from his past work.

“It’s dramatic, but I’m excited about it,” said Sandberg. “When you have an idea, go try it.”

His most recent work is the result of his own experimental processes involving strings of glass and “60 feet of rod with specifically designed cross sections.”

Sandberg’s artwork also manifests itself in other forms that include glass boxes and bowls.

“I really do think the world has too many bowls, if I’m being honest,” said Sandberg.

Sandberg also creates flowerpots, stating that he began creating them because “I really only know how to do two things at this point: glass and plants. So I now make flower pots.”

In terms of the art being displayed at Whitworth University, the purpose and content of his work was described by Sandberg as “the intangible, unattractive aspects of our complex work.”

“I hope to make just a couple moments, for someone, a bit more enjoyable,” Sandberg said, “as it becomes almost impossible to avoid the large amounts of ugliness we are inundated with on a daily basis.”

Sandberg’s art will remain displayed until March 22 in the Bryan Oliver Gallery, where students, faculty, and community members can view his pieces.