Color and Form

Both of this season’s artists are colorists who use color to spark the viewer’s interest and awaken our imaginations.

Peter Zelle

Peter Zelle is a Minneapolis sculptor who has been working with glass for over 30 years. He studied with Dale Chihuly at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and received his BFA in Sculpture/Glass from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1987. After completing his degree he apprenticed for the sculptor Howard Ben Tre in Providence, RI. Peter then moved back to Minnesota and established Zelle Glass Studio in 1992, a sculpture and production glass blowing studio. Over the course of 15 years, Zelle Glass Studio sold functional and decorative glass art in over 100 galleries across the United States. While supporting himself this way, Peter slowly developed his sculptural process and esthetic language without having to compromise his true artistic intentions to make a living. As he matured so did his art.

In 2007 Peter felt it was time to dedicate himself solely to his fine art and closed the glass blowing part of his studio. Since then, Peter’s focus has been on developing and refining his cast glass sculptures. Peter uses glass as a medium to capture and transmit color light in a sculptural form. He feels colored light has a direct path, both emotionally and spiritually into our minds and bodies. His process begins by carving low clay reliefs. This gives Peter the freedom to conjure and explore form, line, texture, and compositions.


Artist Statement

My art is an exercise of my intuition and my passion for color and form. I think of my sculptures as compositions. I bring together shapes, patterns,
textures, and colors in order to orchestrate a dynamic and harmonious whole. I want viewers to be moved by the richness of the colors. I want them to be drawn into the interplay of textures and shapes, to feel the thickness, smoothness, and roughness of the glass. I want my work to create a sense of excitement—a flash of recognition and the wonder of discovery. I aim to provide viewers with a space for contemplation and a respite from the cacophony of the modern world. I am currently working on a series titled “Sentinels and Guardians.” The pieces are figurative in scale, and they are composed of abstract interior landscapes.

I imagine these sculptural bodies standing watch and asserting a physical presence. I want to capture viewers’ imaginations, first by drawing them in with the color and shapes of the pieces, and then by leading them to find associative forms within the interior spaces.