Spencer Pittenger was born in Saratoga Springs, NY. After working as a glassblowing apprentice, Spencer entered the School of Art and Design at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. He graduated in May 2008 with a Bachelor of Fine Art and a minor in Political Science. Spencer has also taken classes at Pilchuck Glass School and the Corning Museum of Glass.
Spencer uses hot sculpted glass, cast glass, and metal to create sculpture fueled by economic, industrial, scientific, and military concepts. He has worked for a number of artists in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a glassblowing instructor. In 2012, Spencer and his wife, Gina Zetts, founded Oculus Glassworks, which specializes in lighting and home decor products. Spencer currently lives and works in Oakland, CA.
I am interested in the process and moment of discovery. I am fascinated by the amount of information that we have discovered as a species, much of it occurring within the last two centuries. Science and technology are forces that govern our lives, but they fade into the background due to their ubiquitous nature.
I am interested in how society utilizes technology, resources, and information. These things constitute the fabric of our culture and inform universal consciousness for all individuals. I am especially fascinated with the elements that constitute the building blocks of our universe. From their creation inside stars and supernovae, to the chemistry of their reactions, to their cultural and economic significance, the elements represent a currency for both our physical and conceptual worlds. I find the processes and history behind the discovery of many of the elements to be extremely intriguing.
I enjoy employing the visual language of scientific instruments. I am attracted to things that possess innate value for their ability to quantify the natural world. The allure of objects that are perceived as powerful or valuable is unmistakable and universal. My intension is to create sculpture that conveys this magnetism while visualizing a narrative inspired by scientific discovery and history.
Another concept that is represented in my work is the idea of physical and metaphorical containment. This concept relates to value, discovery, and energy or potential energy. Whether a container is designed to be revealing or concealing, it promotes a process of exploration and discovery with its viewer. If content is concealed, this only serves to emphasize the potential power or value that is contained.
I seek to create objects that communicate ideas, while being aesthetically pleasing and highly crafted. Glass and metal offer unique material opportunities through their visual and conceptual qualities. The fragility of glass provides a metaphor for humans as living things and its transparency offers visual beauty and depth. Steel, iron, copper, gold and silver all carry histories loaded with cultural, military and industrial applications. My goal is to make work that entices the viewer with its visual qualities and then initiates a deeper conversation pertaining to the concepts that fueled its creation. I want to create objects that project an immediate and explicit impression of intrigue.
- 2008. Bachelor of Fine Arts, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Political science minor.
- 2014. Pilchuck Glass School, "Combine to Sublime" instructed by Rik Allen and Shelley Muzylowski Allen.
- 2011. Corning Museum of Glass, "Blowing and Sculpting Inside the Bubble" instructed by Martin Janecky.
- 2006. Pilchuck Glass School, "Italian Glass Now" instructed by Livio Serena.
- 2003. Corning Museum of Glass, Lampworking class instructed by Ryan Higgins.
Selected Professional Experience
- 2015. Shop Technician and Equipment Fabricator, Glassybaby, Berkeley, CA.
- 2011-2012, 2014-p. Studio Assistant to Glass Artist Steve Parcher, Liquid Fire Design, Oakland, CA.
- 2014. Uncommon Goods Glass Prize finalist.
- 2013-p. Owner and Designer, Oculus Glassworks. Oakland, CA.
- 2012-2014. Cold worker and mold maker for Glass Artist and Professor Michael Rogers. Honeoye Falls, NY.
- 2013. Artist Assistant for Artists in Residence Isabelle/Ruben Toledo. Pilchuck Glass School.
- 2013. Artist in Residence, Alfred University, Summer Session 1.
- 2010. Gaffer/Narrator, Corning Museum of Glass Hot Glass Show onboard Celebrity Solstice. Celebrity Cruise Lines, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
- 2009. Mold maker and Cold worker for Sculptor Oben Albright, Oakland, CA.
- 2008-2009. Cold worker for John Lewis Glass. Oakland, CA.
- 2007. Studio Assistant to Glass Artist and Professor Stephen Edwards. Alfred, NY.
- 2014. Teaching Assistant for Stephen Edwards "Multiples in Hot Glass". Bild-Werk School, Frauenau, Germany.
- 2013. Studio Assistant for Stephen Edwards "Aqueous Adventure". Penland School of Craft.
- 2012. Teaching Assistant for Robert Wiley "Knowing Glass". Pilchuck Glass School.
- 2008-p. Glassblowing Instructor at Public Glass. San Francisco, CA.
- 2008. Teaching Assistant to Angus Powers, Junior Glass Blowing, New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University.
- 2007. Teaching Assistant to Angus Powers, Sophomore Glass Blowing, New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University.
Selected Awards, Publications and Exhibitions
- 2015. Terra Infirma: All Things Unsettled, juried exhibition, Gear Box Gallery, Oakland, CA.
- 2015. New Glass Review 36. Corning Museum of Glass. Corning, NY.
- 2015. Earth Elements, juried exhibition. Providence Art Club. Providence, RI.
- 2015. 20 Cubed, juried exhibition. Southwest University of Visual Art, Platz Gallery. Albuquerque, NM.
- 2014. Captured Light Glass Biennial, juried exhibition. Art Association of Jackson Hole. Jackson, WY.
- 2014. New Glass Review 35. Corning Museum of Glass. Corning, NY.
- 2014. Pilchuck Glass School Scholarship Award to attend "Combine to Sublime" instructed by Rik Allen and Shelley Muzylowski Allen.
- 2014. Collector's Choice Juried Exhibition. Sylvia White Gallery. Ventura, CA
- 2012. Glass & Glasses, group exhibition, Optical Underground, San Francisco, CA
- 2011. Corning Museum of Glass Scholarship Award to attend "Blowing and Sculpting Inside the Bubble" instructed by Martin Janecky.
- 2008. Alfred University Purchase Award, Sculpture Department.
- 2008. "Collective Expenditure", BFA thesis exhibition, Harder Hall, Alfred, NY.
- 2008. Curator and participant in "Thank Uncle Sam Its Almost Over: A Farewell to the Bush Administration", group exhibition, Turner Student Gallery, Alfred, NY.
- 2007. Best of SUNY Student Art Exhibition, New York State Museum, Albany, NY.
- 2006, Awarded Partner Scholarship by Pilchuck Glass School and Alfred University.
- 2006. Curator and participant in "Embodiment", group exhibition, Turner Student