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matthew szösz inflates glass to create frozen species and objects

Inflatables by Matthew Szösz


Practicing artist and educator Matthew Szösz pulls hot sheets of glass from the kiln and immediately inflates it with compressed air. He takes no time waiting for them to dry up naturally. He commands them to dehydrate any moisture through the compressed air he infuses inside, making the glass freeze within seconds as they cool. Frozen glass designs and sculptures resembling species in the animal realm and daily objects emerge from the artistry of Szösz, making up his series titled Inflatables.

glass inflatables by matthew szösz
images courtesy of Matthew Szösz | photo: untitled(inflatable)no. 33, Matthew Szösz



Szösz writes on his website that his series ‘Inflatables’ is created instantly, with no time to waste. He molds the sheet glass to his desired shape for its pre-fused arrangement, places it between two paddings, and chucks everything into the kiln. Time passes, and Szösz wears his work gloves and eye gear. He opens the door of the kiln, takes out the now-heated sheet glass, and lays it down on the floor or pallet.

glass inflatables by matthew szösz
untitled(inflatable)no. 50, Matthew Szösz



Szösz’s hands work at a rapid pace, a second lost is a chance stripped from shaping the heated glass to its rightful form. He injects the hose’s mouth of the air compressor into the hole of the heated glass, flicks the lever of the compressor, and all of a sudden, the malleable sheet glass balloons, displaying its irregular and enticing contour. 

glass inflatables by matthew szösz
untitled(inflatable)no. 43, Matthew Szösz



Mimicking the elements of floatation devices


Matthew Szösz has been known for his inventive processes and innovative use of glass, with recognition under his belt such as the Borowsky, the Jutta-Cuny Franz, and a Tiffany Foundation Grant. He eyes to explore the intersection of the material, the intellectual, and the poetic as he directs the heated sheet glass under his authority.

glass inflatables by matthew szösz
untitled(inflatable)no. 71a, Matthew Szösz



Watching the video above, the sheets of glass are already manufactured to follow their pre-assembled design, but they still need Szösz’s hands to wield them well and surface as objects favored by glass-art aficionados. Some of his glass works mirror the forms of worms, with one of them creating a loop that ends up looking a donut. Just like the title of the series, nuances of the inflatables come into sight through the soft ridges that portray the folded plastic material used in the corners and sides of the floatation devices.

glass inflatables by matthew szösz
untitled(inflatable)no. 85b, Matthew Szösz



Some of the ridges look intentional as they materialize into sharp points, mimicking the physique of the monsters in fantasy movies. One sculpture arches to form a swing design, and its underbelly softly slopes, perfecting the cartoony interpretation of worms. Whatever shape the glass art takes up, Matthew Szösz makes his creative process and playful thinking immediately known.


untitled(inflatable)no. 75g, Matthew Szösz

glass inflatables by matthew szösz
untitled(inflatable)no. 59k, Matthew Szösz

glass inflatables by matthew szösz
untitled(inflatable)no. 59k, Matthew Szösz



project info:


name: Inflatables

artist: Matthew Szösz





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