Mary Shaffer: A Discourse On Innovation

John Perreault, New York Art Critic, poet, painter, former contributing editor for the Village Voice.


Mary Shaffer’s work is sculpture. But this does not say quite enough in the terms of its unique location within the scheme of things. Although she has been exhibiting her work since 1975 in a gallery primarily devoted to painting and noncraft sculpture (O.K. Harris in New York), she has also shown in glass-specific or craft venues (the Heller Gallery in New York and Anne O’Brian Gallery in Washington, DC). Shaffer belongs to two worlds and is not made uncomfortable by this seeming paradox. Although her works are clearly not vessels, she shares with vesselmakers and other glass artists the difficulties-and pleasures-of working with a material that some consider automatically seductive. What other material captures light so wondrously? What other material can you look into as well as through? Continue reading