Stained Glass Window. . . A straightforward term . . . Seems to pretty much say it all, right? Well, not quite. At least not to me.
Implicit in the term stained glass window is the transformative and elusive wonder of light, which itself implies an expansive, three-dimensional experience. In its purest, clearest manifestation, light is a perfect metaphor for discovery and transcendence. Both symbolically and physically, light leads from darkness to new possibilities. When one expands the definition of window to include its interaction with light, vivid three-dimensional images inevitably emerge in the mind’s eye. Suddenly, landscape and sky become a dynamic part of a window’s flat picture-plane. The serendipitous and unexpected projections of light and color into an architectural space complete the concept of stained glass window as a fully three (or more) dimensional experience that is constantly changing with the passing of hours, days, and seasons.
As stained glass evolved as a medium, the crystal clarity found in its earliest uses in Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals was soon obscured by painting on the glass. Increasingly, stained glass windows’ potential for crystalline views out with transcendent sunshine pouring in became blurred by surface treatment. Painting on glass can produce beautiful, glowing, well. . . paintings. However, early in my career, I realized that my subliminal, intuitive attraction to stained glass is its pristine transparency. Unlike painting on canvas, which is seen via flat, reflected light, unadulterated stained glass transmits light through the picture-plane from the other side. The conceptual starting point in my work is carefully planned, abstract imagery. Just as important, however, is the sunlight that streams through my windows, weaving its way into our consciousness as we gaze back out to landscape and sky beyond.