Brooklyn-based Thaddeus Wolfe has developed a wholly original approach to sculpting glass. Combining techniques of glassblowing and casting, Wolfe achieves what would not otherwise be possible in the material--developing his signature vocabulary of angular, highly textured forms.
Born in Toledo in 1979, Wolfe graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2002. Originally intending to study painting, Wolfe decided to pursue glassmaking after taking an elective during his second year. Upon graduation, Wolfe moved to New York where he started working for Jeff Zimmerman and Josiah McElheny until establishing his own studio practice in 2009.
Wolfe takes inspiration from multiple sources including the visual complexity in simple repeated structures from minerals, plants, and other natural phenomena as well as art and architectural movements of the early 20th century. “My goal is a synthesis of visual input/ideas from the natural and unnatural worlds into something more complex and abstract which does not necessarily reference any one specific thing,” says Wolfe.
His unique process begins by sculpting a form from broken and carved styrofoam pieces, using meticulous yet improvisitory methods. From this form, Wolfe generates a single-use plaster mold for casting the glass. Color and texture are achieved by layering different tints of glass onto a glass bubble, which is inflated into the cavity of the heated mold. After un-molding the piece, Wolfe carves and polishes certain surfaces to reveal the interior strata. The resulting works which he often refers to as Assemblages are part painterly, part geological.
Wolfe has held residencies at Creative Glass Center of America Millville, NJ; Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA; and Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, WA. Wolfe’s work is in the permanent collections of the Corning Museum of Glass, NY (where he was awarded the 2016 Rakow Commission); Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN; Musée de Arts Décoratifs de Montreal, Canada; Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, TX; Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI; and Yale University Art Gallery, CT.
Wolfe lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.