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Case Study: Richard Jolley (Knoxville, TN)

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Case Antiques has the exciting opportunity to sell at auction one of the largest collections of glass sculptures in recent memory by internationally-acclaimed Tennessee artist Richard Jolley. Join us for our upcoming two-day auction July 11th & 12th. For more information, please visit us at caseantiques.com.

Glassblower and Kansas-native Richard Jolley (b. 1952) moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee in his youth and has maintained a studio in nearby Knoxville since 1975. Jolley studied glass under Michael Taylor at Tusculum College in Greenville, Tennessee, and later that fall he completed his B.F.A. at Peabody College in Nashville. Jolley continued honing his technique at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina under Richard Ritter. In 2002, Jolley had his first major retrospective held at the Knoxville Museum of Art that traveled to 14 museums over a five-year period. In his spare time, Jolley has a recurring teaching partnership with Penland and is involved with programs designed to educate at-risk students within the Knoxville community.

Jolley’s playful, almost dream-like glass forms are produced in a multitude of bold colors and sizes: from small, tabletop pieces to monumental installations. To the untrained eye, some of his works may appear simple, however, it is the result of the masterful disguising of his techniques within the work. Jolley has said, “I want the work to feel free, not labored over. I want it to not reflect the tedium of life.” An underlying theme to his work is a man and his relationship to the world around him. However, Jolley keeps the specifics of that relationship ever-elusive; it is for the viewer to draw their own conclusions, which, in turn, builds a personal bond between viewer and object. Often collaborating with wife and fellow glassblower, Tommie Rush, Jolley also explores the subject of nature, including charming dogs, perched birds, and intricate floral assemblages within his oeuvre.

Gaining recognition early in his career, Jolley’s work was included in important glass exhibitions at the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Sapporo, Japan, the International Exhibition Glass in Kanazawa, Japan, and more. Since then, Jolley’s work has been exhibited at over 65 solo museum and gallery exhibitions nationally, as well as in Europe and Japan, including the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, the Corning Museum of Glass, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art. This year, his work is to be included in the exhibition In Search of the New: Art in Tennessee after 1900 at the Tennessee State Museum. The artist’s work can be found in over 33 noteworthy public collections, including the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Corning Museum of Glass, the Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art and the Knoxville Museum of Art, among others.