Exploring the Spaces Within

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spaces Within explores the human experience through the lens of selfhood. This exhibition showcases clay, wood, and bronze sculptures by international artist Maria Michaelson, and a selection of glass artwork from the collection of Sonia and Isaac Luski, which is on loan from Foundation For The Carolinas.
Working with clay, wood, and bronze she loves the materials she works with and is always exploring what can be done with them. Describing her process as non-linear, her sculptures grow through adding and subtracting. Never shying away from utilizing additional materials or found objects, she has even chopped up a sculpture and used epoxy to put it back together differently. “I love to be fluid, and never know what a piece will be like until it is happening.”
Isaac and Sonia Luski left communist Cuba in the 1960s with only four suitcases of belongings. Although they had few possessions, they wanted to bring artwork from their native country. On the way to the airport, they visited Rene Portocarrero’s studio and purchased two of his paintings. After a brief stay in Miami, the Luski family settled in Charlotte, NC. Isaac and his brother, Abraham, started a real estate development business and after taking advantage of Charlotte’s rapid growth, the Luski’s realized great profits. A trip to Penland School of Crafts in 1967 was the inspiration which begin their expansive glass collection. Being fascinated by what they saw, they met renowned glass blowing artists Mark Peiser, Harvey Littleton, and Richard Ritter and became lifelong friends. Most of the artists the Luskis support are like family. They appreciate the artists as much as they appreciate the art that they create.
For nearly forty-seven years, the Luskis have collected artwork from around the world. Every room in their Charlotte home is filled with contemporary, intricate glass pieces as well as paintings and sculpture from renowned artists. The Luskis purchase only the art that they love. Isaac shares, “We use our instinct. We buy what we like. If it becomes valuable, there is nothing wrong with that, but we have bought what we liked. If the value doesn’t grow, it doesn’t matter to us because we still get to enjoy it for the rest of our lives.” The Luskis are among Charlotte’s premier arts patrons and philanthropists. Art is their passion and they believe it should be shared with the community. They began contributing works to Foundation For The Carolinas in the 1990s. In 2011, the Luskis gave a significant portion of their mostly glass art collection to Foundation For The Carolinas for its new headquarters in uptown Charlotte. “Glass is healing,” Isaac Luski said. “You look at it and it makes you feel better.”
Located in the heart of uptown Charlotte, Foundation For The Carolinas is a non-profit corporation that aims to serve individuals, families, nonprofit groups, and corporations as they make a positive impact on their communities. It is one of the largest community foundations in the Southeast.
Among the pieces in this exhibition, glass artists Gary Beecham, George Bucquet, William Carlson, José Chardiet, Stephen Edwards, Sidney Hutter, Jon Kuhn, John Littleton & Kate Vogel, Richard Ritter, and Michael Taylor are featured. Five of these artists, Beecham, Kuhn, Littleton & Vogel, and Ritter are North Carolina residents.
Want to go?
Waterworks Visual Arts Center, 123 E. Liberty St. • Exhibition dates: Sept. 13 through Jan. 31, 2015 • Opening event: Thursday, Sept. 18 • Informal gallery talk with artist beginning at 5 p.m. • Opening reception, 6-8 p.m. • Gallery hours Monday – Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., 704-636-1882, www.waterworks.org