Andy Paiko

Andy Paiko: Indefinite Sum

September 2 – October 24, 2014
Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery

The most commonly held image of a glassblower is of a somewhat romanticized craftsperson surrounded by flaming furnaces, making vases, bowls, drinking vessels, and water jugs, or even little decorative horses for countertop and mantle. And although this may be, in large part, approximately accurate, Andy Paiko considers his goal as a glass artist to examine the role of glass in relation to its function. Must a vessel be used in order to be functional? Does a functionless sculpture have a real purpose outside of aesthetic contemplation? If so, does its creator have to take responsibility for making something that is otherwise useless?

These questions have led Paiko away from sculptural abstraction toward a symbolic way of dealing with the form/function relationship. Each piece could be metaphorical; it could comment on the difficulty of decision-making in everyday life, the relationship of society with nature or language, or the way the mind
grasps experience through dreams. But further, he wants to make things that
try to communicate on a more conceptual level while, at the same time, they imitate purpose.

“The glassblowing process is an additive one, much like our personalities,” he writes. “Rather than a form emerging from a block of solid stone reductively, forms of glass are pushed into space organically by a cumulative history of layering and motion. My object-making process has developed to extend this layering, whereby many separate, individual glass parts are fused cold, away from the furnace, to form a collage of sorts. This allows for a degree of detail and complexity difficult
to achieve on the end of a blowpipe.”

After obtaining his degree in studio art from California Polytechnic State
University in 2002, Paiko has worked as an independent studio glass artist. Through several apprenticeships he has broadened his knowledge about his chosen medium, studying color chemistry, hot shop fabrication, traditional reproduction, and Venetian technique. His dedication to solo glassblowing
has allowed him to develop his own method of collage-style assemblage that merges his fascination with engineering, science, and visual art. Paiko lives
and works in Portland, Oregon.

In conjunction with the opening of this exhibition, Andy Paiko will present an illustrated lecture on his work from 5-6 pm in Art #133. This presentation and the following opening reception are free and open to the public.




Accidental Mysteries: Extraordinary Vernacular Photographs

November 4 – December 12, 2014

Foster, a critic, collector, and designer, has collected a broad range of found photographs that, while made casually as personal souvenirs, may be remarkably artistic as well. Usually made by amateur photographers whose training may have amounted to little more than point-and-click, these images can turn out to be unaffected, accidental masterpieces. Examined in new settings, outside family albums, and from points of view other than those of the people who created them, these images can take on new meanings that differ dramatically from those they were originally intended to convey. Foster’s presentation will introduce the exhibition of this same name opening later this evening. 



Hardcover Book Documenting the Past 100 Years

Now Available for Purchase

It is as important to mark rites of passage for institutions as for individuals. In each case, stopping to observe a transitional moment has particular importance amidst the crush of what has become the new “normal” of our busy daily lives: it motivates us to celebrate growth, honor milestones, or commemorate passings. And, by so doing, it inspires us to take stock, to note the challenges and the successes, the drawbacks and the rewards. It reminds us to take a breath and look back from where we have come, appreciate where we are now, and look forward to what lies ahead.

Featuring 160 color reproductions and black-and-white photographs, the new book Creativity, Change, Commitment: A Celebration of 100 Years of The Department of Art provides a broad history of the Department of Art, and includes images by or narratives about dozens of alumni, as well as faculty, staff, and programs. This splendidly designed 280-page hard cover was produced in conjunction with an exhibition at the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery at SJSU. Catalog contributors include Jo Farb Hernández, director/curator of the Thompson Gallery, as well as texts written by three distinguished art history alumni. Together they have created the most comprehensive history of the Department that has yet been formulated.

Retail price: $30 SJSU faculty, students, staff, alumni; $50 general public; $8 S+H; discounts for bulk orders, libraries, or nonprofit organizations upon request.  

Checks only to: Thompson Art Gallery, Department of Art and Art History, San José State University, One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192-0089. For further information contact Jo Farb Hernández at