The impeccably trained Old World craftsman already ranked among the most highly skilled flame workers in
Thirty years later he sits at the top of the heap in his adopted homeland, where his arresting blend of imagination and expertise have opened virtually every door to the most prominent glass museums and schools as well as their counterparts in numerous other countries.
That elevated status is one reason why -- when internationally celebrated
It's also why you should consider making the trip to
Despite his regular appearances in the annual
And it doesn't take long before even the most basic drinking vessel on display tells you that you're looking at the hand of a master.
"Emilio can take the simplest forms and make them very striking and elegant," says gallery owner
"He's always pushing himself and looking for ways to make a statement."
Among the most revealing examples of Santini's ability to explore and animate basic forms is the remarkable collection of geometric vessels that open the exhibit.
Made up of stripped-down cones, cylinders, bells and spheres connected by knops and stems, these tall, unusually graceful goblets rarely include more than three or four elements. Most of the feet and bowls are made of clear, colorless glass, too.
But sometimes the parts are deftly drawn out and elongated. Sometimes they're compact and short. And always they're combined in ways that result in not just handsome drinking vessels but also conspicuously well-ordered, often rhythmic pieces of abstract sculpture.
Such cerebral creations have an emphatically physical, almost muscular counterpart in works such as "Bilanciere," a comically animated, almost anthropomorphic goblet that looks as if it had been tapped by the magic wand of
More lively still are the artist's trademark figural vessels, which incorporate the expertly modeled forms of classical male and female subjects not merely as stems but as nearly independent pieces of sculpture.
In his "Carnival" goblets, especially, one masked celebrant supports the bowl of the vessel overhead with a single outstretched hand while simultaneously perching on the stem and extending her legs in the air like a dancer.
Similar qualities are at work in the more highly stylized figures that balance bowls over their heads in a pair of "Fertility" vessels.
"When you watch him work, they just seem to come out of the air," Rogan said.
"But the secret behind their success is his understanding of the balance points. That's what makes it look like magic when he's done."
There's a lot more to see in this show, ranging from large, free-standing works of sculpture to tiny miniature vessels.
It's also changes constantly as various pieces are purchased and swapped out for replacements.
So don't wait until the end of its run to see it.
Erickson can be reached at 757-247-4783. Find more visual arts stories at dailypress.com/entertainment/arts and Facebook.com/dpentertainment.
Want to go?
When: Tuesday-Saturday through
Information: 757-596-3551. http://www.cristalloartcenter.com
Online: Go to dailypress.com/entertainment/arts to see a photo gallery of works from the show.
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