Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tuss on Janis

By Katie Tuss

Michael Janis’s latest solo exhibition, The Quadrant of Sky, opened at the Neptune Gallery in Bethesda last Wednesday.

Janis, a glass artist and Washington Glass School co-director, uses fused and cast glass to explore the nuances of the human form and the varied layers of human interaction.

Janis first explored glass as an architect, and his figurative representations belie the precision of a draftsman while the construction of his pieces, often set in steel, is sleek and exact.

“Michael’s ability to glance at an image and know how to translate it using glass is amazing,” says Neptune Gallery's director Elyse Harrison.

Janis uses powdered black glass to create his drawings. The technique is labor-intensive and requires Janis to push the pigment particles into place to create his images. These ‘drawn’ images are then fused onto the glass in a kiln.

The free-standing and hanging pieces on exhibition are contemplative transparent environments. In his Delicate Balance series, Janis layers repeating portraits on curved plates of glass. The slightly skewed placement of the faces creates a countenance of reflection and self-consideration.

Michael Janis Delicate Balance
In his newest series, Unguarded Lives, Janis mixes colored glass and cast faces with the fused drawings. The drawn figures are fluid and dreamlike and the intent further open to interpretation.

Michael Janis Years of Wandering
The exhibition goes through October 6, 2007.