Rick Beck is a studio artist based in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. He began working in glass at Hastings College in Nebraska, where he received his BA and an MFA from Southern Illinois University. In 1994, Rick was awarded a visual arts fellowship by the North Carolina arts council, followed by a national endowment for the arts regional visual arts fellowship from the Southern Arts Federation in 1995. Rick is part of the studio glass movement. He has taught at the prestigious Pilchuck glass school, assisting artists Curtiss Brock and Jan Mares. He has taught at the Penland School of Craft since 1988. Rick is known for his large-scale cast glass sculpture depicting industrial, everyday objects and the human figure.
Beck's cast pieces are one of a kind. He begins by making the figure or shape out of clay. Next step is investing it in plaster, then digging out the clay. After editing that, by carving and changing the mold, it is put into the annealer. Chunks of glass are put into the mold and heated to 1600 degrees, then held there for annealing. The time it takes to come down to room temperature depends on the size of the piece, which can be anywhere from a week to two months. Once the mold is removed from the annealer, the plaster /silica mold is completely broken away and the piece is carved using diamond tools.
My work in glass is a synthesis of human and mechanical form, with an emphasis on formal aspects. I am interested in playing the volumes of mass against the rhythm of the lines. I enjoy the interplay of the visual (visceral) versus the verbal (descriptive/technical). The work should challenge the eye and the mind.
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