A! Magazine for the Arts

Mark Peiser's "Crane Road Spring" 1980, blown glass, torch-worked imagery, 11.5 x 6 x 6 inches. From the Asheville Art Museum collection.

Mark Peiser's "Crane Road Spring" 1980, blown glass, torch-worked imagery, 11.5 x 6 x 6 inches. From the Asheville Art Museum collection.

Glass Artist Receives Governor's Award in the Arts

November 8, 2009

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - On Thursday, Oct. 29, Gov. Beverly Perdue presented the North Carolina Award to artist Mark Peiser for his significant contributions to the state and nation in the field of fine arts, only one of six North Carolinians to receive the award this year.

Peiser is a Western North Carolina glass artist who lives and works in Penland, N.C.

"The award celebrates creativity and innovation, two values which sustain our economy, our culture and our people," said Gov. Perdue, "bestowed upon individuals whose contributions to our state are enduring and significant."

Chicago-born Peiser studied engineering at Perdue University before transferring to the design program at the Illinois Institute of Technology and working as an industrial designer. In 1967, he chanced upon a glass course at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. The Penland experience was life-changing. By 1969 he was the first resident craftsman in glass and purchased nearby land to build his home and studio.

At the time, glass was an unexplored art medium so Peiser had to create skills, tools and techniques as he went along. His innovative approaches set a high standard for glass artists. Still today, he is an accomplished glass student who is constantly exploring and learning about its capabilities.

Peiser has had several distinct periods in his career. From his early Experimental works, through his Paperweight Vase series and his Inner Space pieces to his Forms of Consciousness and today his Cold Stream Cast Glass, he continues to push the glass envelope. As a leader of the studio glass movement for over 40 years, Peiser's aesthetic innovations have had a tremendous impact on the art world and taken North Carolina to the forefront of the studio glass movement. He has shared his scientific and technical developments and helped to create a vibrant market for glass art.

Internationally known, his work has appeared in numerous exhibitions over the years and is in collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, National Museum of American History-Smithsonian Institution, Lucerne Museum of Art, Tokyo Museum of Modern Art, Asheville Art Museum and many others. He has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation and has received the glass world's highest honors. He was a founder of the Glass Art Society and has been a member of the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass, the American Craft Council, the International Sculpture Center, and the Board of Directors at the Penland School of Crafts.

The Asheville Art Museum nominated Mark Peiser for this award as part of its mission to collect and support Western North Carolina artists and organized a full-scale retrospective of his work titled Looking Within: Mark Peiser, the Art of Glass in 2003. The Asheville Art Museum publicized a catalog for this exhibition which is available for purchase online at www.ashevilleart.org or in the Museum Shop. Many of Peiser's pieces reside in the Museum's permanent collection, a testament to the Museum's dedication in collecting fine craft from Western North Carolina artists as a part of its collecting strategy.