Three Panel 29x9
Sculptor Peter Zelle has worked with glass, clay and steel for 30 years. Explaining the early inspiration for his work, he recalls the wisdom of one of his teachers who suggested, “Living is the greatest art of all, and out of that comes the art product.” At 15, he witnessed the example of a creative life by observing his father’s great uncle, the sculptor/painter Peter Krasnow in his home and studio, then in his 90’s and still making new works and living creatively. Zelle had just begun working with clay, and at that point, he chose the direction for his own life.
Peter 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 colored 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.
During this time Peter has been in numerous Fine Art exhibitions, and completed private commissions and select public art projects.
He cites some of his influences as Arshile Gorky, Paul Klee, Louise Nevelson, George Morrison, and Peter Krasnow, the relative whose 20th century sculptures and paintings were present in Zelle’s boyhood home,
My art is an exercise of my physical intuition and my passion for color and form. I think of my sculptures as compositions, a word that resonates for me musically as well as spatially. I bring together shapes, patterns, textures, and colors in order to orchestrate a dynamic and harmonious whole. Perhaps the most striking aspect of my pieces is the luminous color radiating through the smooth surfaces, but equally important is the relief on the reverse sides. In fact, this is the first element that I address in my process, carving the shapes and textures into clay. It is only after I establish these spatial relationships that I decide the arrangement of colors that will accentuate the form and bring the composition together.
I want viewers to be moved by the pieces. I want them to be drawn into the interplay of textures, and shapes, to feel the thickness of the glass, and to touch the polished edges of each piece. I hope these works create a sense of awe. I hope the viewer is transfixed by the colors and forms.
I want my work to create a sense of excitement—a flash of recognition and the wonder of discovery. With these cast forms of colored glass, I aim to provide viewers with a space for contemplation and a respite from the cacophony of the modern world.ion, recognized for our commitment to promoting creativity, artistic expression, and cultural exchange. We strive to inspire and engage audiences through thought-provoking exhibitions, educational programs, and community outreach.