The Delta landscape often influences the blown, cast and fused sculptures of noted Alabama glass artist Rene Culler.
The artist: Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Culler began to work in glass in high school, learning how to sandblast. At the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she earned a BFA in glass, Culler learned about color and form, plus how to blow glass and work with steel. She went on to earn her MFA in crafts/glass from Kent State University.
Since then, the glass artist has held various teaching positions, including initiating the first university glass program at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. She also has taught multiple workshops across the country and the world, including Istanbul and Barcelona.
The company/studio: Rene Culler Glass LLC, has been based in Mobile since 2017. In her circa 1960 building, the artist works and teaches classes in kiln-working, fusing, casting and enameling. Culler has also built kilns that allow her to produce architectural scale glass.
The art + materials: One-of-a-kind glass pieces inspired by the natural world. Works range from blown glass objects ($500 to $2,000) to fused panels ($2,500 and up) for the wall. The panels are essentially paintings.
What’s popular: A series called “Painted Pots,” which have no paint, were originally inspired by the geothermic color pools of Yellowstone.
Other favorites: A body or sculptures based on the Suit of Cups of the Tarot. Some of these works are in the permanent collections of the Corning Museum of Glass; the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo en Vidrio de Alcorcón (MAVA), in Spain; and the Mobile Museum of Art
- The Delta landscape, and the magnificent live oak trees. “Nothing makes me happier than kayaking in the Delta.”
- The abstract expressionists and historical and contemporary glass and clay crafts.
Special requests/commissions: From 2017 to 2019, Culler exhibited her painted, fused, slumped and blown work at the Mobile Museum of Art. The large installation, “Mobile Delta: Glass and Light,” is 40 feet wide by 20 feet high. See a video of the work at: youtube/MEmkaL3Ikok
Claim to fame: Having her sculpture “Hot Blooded” on permanent display at the Luce Center in the American Museum of Art at The Smithsonian.
- Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship, 2012, at Namseoul University in South Korea, and a corresponding solo exhibition at Gallery Iang, Seoul.
- Artist Fellowship Award, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, 2019.
- Artist Fellowships and Travel Research Grants, the Ohio Arts Council.
- 50 top researchers in 50 years, a faculty peer reviewed award, University of South Alabama, 2013.
- A series about the number six with the hexagon making up a background grid inspired by Islamic tile arts.
- Installing a hot glass furnace (hot shop) for glass blowing.
- Continue kiln and blown work inspired by the biomorphic shapes, the landscape and colors of the Delta.
- Making jewelry pendants under the name Notorious RCG.
What’s next: Exhibition at the Sophiella Gallery in downtown Mobile, in Spring 2022.
Get social at:
- Facebook: Rene Culler Glass
- Instagram: @Rene Culler Glass