Stratoz and I went to Guiding Light, the Ries exhibit at Misericordia University, and were awed by the collection of work. Stratoz took many photos, in hopes of capturing something of the essence of these sculptures. This is a three dimensional experience. Each piece offered up a multiplicity of reflections and angles as I circled around each one, and created a meditative state of discovery and delight. As the gallery director, Brian J. Benedetti writes in the program, “Christopher Ries is fundamentally a sculptor of light.” Embrace is imbued with vibrant orange, but thrown magically from the base of the piece, to inhabit the clear crystal tip.
Here I am next to Peace, a glowing whale’s tail on the waves, or as it now occurs to me, a white dove, in glass tourist glory. Tourists have their photos taken by monuments, often memorializing the war dead, so it is a relief to find a monument to peace instead. I will close with an excerpt from a poem called Sea of Glass, which I wrote about the first time I saw Ries’ work, in 1996.
“Ries presses his chest into the machine
he has made, polishing the opaque glass,
not knowing the inside
until it is finished.
The glass sculpted like praying, leaning on the heart
to change its inner shape.”