Wednesday, April 11

Oben Abright's glass people

Oben Albright was exposed to art very soon and used to paint, draw and sculpt with clay at his parent's studio.
In 2004 he received his BFA in glass from California College of Arts and Crafts. His work has been shown with Habatat Gallery Chicago, now Echt Gallery, and maintains a studio in Oakland, Ca.
This is what he says about his work:

“Human emotion is a subject of infinite artistic value. My work portrays the faces and experiences of people around me. As a sculptor working in clay I wanted to show more internal imagery behind the still face of a figure. This desire to reveal the interior has led me to pursue the transparency of glass. A glass figure conveys fragility and communicates through light better then one in any other medium.”
Oben Abright

He uses other materials but blowing glass is at the core of most of his work. I would love the technique used to mold the glass.

In 2008, Albright went to Burma and visited the war zone. He had an accident:

Antonio Graceffo wrote about it:

"On a recent fact finding mission into the war zone in Burma, San Francisco glass sculptor, Oben Abright, became the latest casualty of the world’s longest running conflict. Oben’s hand was crushed in a motorcycle accident near a military checkpoint. It took seven hours to evacuate Oben from the conflict zone to a hospital in the city, where he lay on an operating table for another three and half hours before surgeons could finally begin a procedure to install six metal pins, connecting his shattered bones. Two weeks after the accident, Oben flew back to the United States for outpatient care. Over the next two months, he is expected to make a full recovery.

Having read about the conflict in Burma and the genocide being perpetrated on the Shan and other minority peoples, Oben had the idea of using his art to raise awareness of one of the world’s least reported wars. "

“Sculpture is the most powerful medium of art.” Explained Oben. “Sculpture occupies a three dimensional space.” He went on to say that when people buy a sculpture for thousands of dollars, they put it in a prominent position in their house. They like to know the story behind the sculpture. And they like to tell their friends about it.

People in the west have become immune to the countless sad images on TV of exotic people suffering in some remote corner of the world where we have never been, and where we will never go. How can television and media reporting create awareness and empathy when they have simply become so much background noise?

Unlike print media, sculpture cannot be ignored.

The accident occurred on Oben’s second trip into the war zone. During his first visit at the Shan State rebel Army (SSA) headquarters, Oben lived in a community of several thousand displaced Shan people, and heard their stories first hand.

After photographing orphans, widows, amputees, soldiers, and civilians inside of the conflict zone, Oben Abright plans to feature the Shan people of Burma in an upcoming sculpture series.

Below is the full story of the incident. When the story originally appeared, Oben’s name had to be changed. He was originally called “Unten.” Now that he is safely out of the conflict zone, the story can be released with his real name. keep reading.

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