Monday, October 12, 2009

Schjeldahl's stained glass article (New Yorker-5/12/08)

I appreciated his article "Many Colored Glass". His work was beautifully researched giving me a more intimate feeling of the stained glass artists G. Richter and S. Polke and their context. There is a value in presenting the detailed context of the social motivations and artists's background and glass technician's skill. I believe this is historically interesting but I feel there is an aspect of the window and artist he reviewed that I found missing.

In the Cologne Cathedrale, G. Richter lays the groundwork for a powerful, transcendental, physical and by extension, spiritual experience.  He has brought together colored light, geometry and intent.  The geometries of the window border frames, themselves developed from geometry expressing transcendental ratios, provide a programmable framework that is intrinsically energized.   And when combined with both words and music of a liturgy (energized further by the geometry and chant), have the potential to form a veritable "broadcasting station" disseminating a subliminal, liturgical message.
It is unfortunate that the colored glass chosen by G. Richter is unfocussed and scattered across the color spectrum. A focussed, unified color scheme, or at least a tighter palette could have worked much more powerfully in concert with the energized geometries of the window borders. It is a relief that there are no liturgically themed graphics (no ever-present Christians-At-War). I wish Schjeldahl's article had included comments on the value of including  a focussed color scheme.  The resulting window is burlesque in the sense of possessing a strong and articulated frame, but extremely weak subject matter. The transformative medium of light, color and geometry is capable of so much more!

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