A graduate of Fort Hays State University who has captured worldwide attention with his glass-blowing artistry will exhibit nearly three dozen of his works on the Hays campus beginning at the end of January.
"Brejcha Retrospective: A Life of Hot Glass" will open to the public from10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31, in the gallery next to Eagle Communications Hall at the Robbins Center, home of the FHSU Foundation and the Alumni Association. The artist, Vernon Brejcha (pronounced BRECK ah), will attend the opening session.
The regular hours for the exhibit will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays from
Feb. 2 through 27. The Robbins Center is conveniently located at the Highway 169 Bypass entrance to the university near Gross Memorial Coliseum. There is ample parking, and the public is encouraged to visit the "Brejcha Retrospective: A Life of Hot Glass" exhibition.
"The opportunity to exhibit an internationally known artist of the stature of Vernon Brejcha in our gallery is wonderful, and we look forward to having other great exhibits in the future," said Tim Chapman, president and CEO of the FHSU Foundation.
Brejcha has described his artistic career, ironically, as both unexpected and inevitable. "It's hard to believe 40 years of blowing glass has gone by for a Kansas farm boy whose only introduction to art was comic books," he said. "I also spent time as a potter, teacher and, finally, a professor. I've told people that although born on a 1937 John Deere, I was also born an artist. It seems there was never a choice for me. My earliest memories are of drawing on the kitchen floor, or in the dust of the farmyard. I've tried all media from paint to metal, but once I dipped a blowpipe into molten glass 40 years ago, it seduced me. It's the most demanding material there is. It is magic!"
Brejcha said that after four decades he still loved the challenge of creating art from glass. "Guess I'm a visual storyteller," he said. "My art objects are about life, passion and the wonders of nature. Nature on the Kansas prairie has been the most inspiring. The extreme prairie weather, Kansas limestone posts, wheat fields, our Native American past, the origins of life and vast open spaces inspire me. After all, where I came from fast food was a jack rabbit."
Brejcha lives in Lawrence, where he was named professor emeritus at the University of Kansas in 2003 after teaching design there from 1976 to 2002. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Fort Hays State University in 1964 and 1967, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1972. Before teaching at K.U., he was an art teacher at Circle High School in Towanda, an art instructor at Edgewood College in Madison, WI, and an assistant professor of art at Tusculum College in Tennessee.
"Vernon represents the high quality of achievement to which art students can aspire," said Lee Powers, chair of FHSU's Department of Art and Design. "We are proud of this distinguished alumnus and welcome his return to the FHSU campus."
A partial list of the locations where his art has been exhibited include:
Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.
Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, NY
Kunstmuseum, Dusseldorf, Germany
The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague, Czech Republic
The Wheaton Glass Museum, Millville, NJ
Modern International Glaskunst Museum, Ebeltoft, Denmark
The Huntington Galleries, Huntington, WV
J and L Lobmeyer Museum, Vienna, Austria
The Oklahoma Art Museum, Oklahoma City, OK
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Notojima Glass Art Museum, Notojiama, Japan
Wustum Museum of Fine Art, Racine, WI
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA
Tweed Museum, Duluth, MN
National Czech and Slovak Museum, Cedar Rapids, IA
Charles M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, MT
Wichita Art Museum, Wichita
Sasaki Crystal Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Pilkington Glass Museum, St. Helens, England
Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN