Artist: Miles Van Rensselaer

  • As an artist, as a human being, I have always been fascinated with archaic cultures. I find myself consistently turning away from the ever-looming modernity, turning back to societies unconcerned with material things. As we plunge further into the next millennium, tucked all too comfortably in our technological womb, the tribes of southwestern New Guinea and central Borneo are just one generation removed from headhunting and cannibalism. Men still wear boar’s tusks through their septum’s, gourd sheaths over their penises; women still suckle pigs along with their babies, chop off fingers in mourning of the dead; human skulls are still preserved as pillows, trophies, necklaces.

    And artists – yes artists. Highly skilled woodcarvers still hack ravaging ancestral figures into totems and slit gongs from mangrove trees with little more than sharpened rock, conus shell and cassowary claw. Overwhelming. Inspiring. Humbling. Words. Terms that merely graze the surface of the effect these people have had upon me.

    My foundation is carving; carving first brought me overseas, as a student of language and apprentice to traditional Javanese and Balinese mask makers. Some of the bronzes shown in the enclosed slide sheet came from molds of my original woodcarvings. Some began in clay, some in wax, some foam. Anything, really. I am not defined by material so much as idea. I explore new materials and ideas constantly and push the envelope on those I already know.

    Having worked in a foundry / glass studio for 5 years right out of college, my professional work has largely been cast metal with blown glass. Far from a convenience, however, this unexpected marriage of materials requires a patient coaxing. It is a careful seduction of two terrible and disparate temperaments with technique, design, idea. I’ve been refining my glass, metal and wood working techniques for 15 years and have recently begun to receive some recognition.

    My work focuses upon the unfamiliar, the lesser known. I push my processes as I push myself: repeatedly into the realm of the unknown. In exploring and exploiting (at times perhaps even expanding) their unique characteristics, I seek to combine age-old materials in new compositions, compositions that lock material to form a give a certain unshakeability to the idea. Having been fortunate enough to travel, live, even carve among many of the dying cultures of the world, I strive to make works of art which recognize, celebrate and pay modest homage to their noble vanishing ways of life, and the profound impact they have had upon mine.


    Miles Van Rensselaer has exhibited professionally for 15 years; his first solo show was at Heller Gallery in 2005 in NYC. His works are well-conceived juxtapositions of material and concept that lock the two together into unique sculptural form. Miles received his Bachelor’s (double-majoring in Sculpture and English) from Kenyon College while studying the Indonesian language, mask-making and woodcarving with Javanese and Balinese masters. Miles has since worked with many other professional artists while converting an abandoned marble quarry along the Delaware River into a modern bronze foundry where he now lives and works.


    2014 Shanghai Museum of Glass, Shanghai, CHINA
    1999-2007 Clifton Sculpture Park: Clifton, NJ
    2002 National Liberty Museum: Philadelphia, PA
    2009-present Tom & Denise Stern, New York, NY and
    1997 Kenyon College: Gambier, OH
    1996- numerous private collections


    2014 Rosenberg Residency, Salem State University, Salem, MA
    2014 Visiting Artist, Alfred University, Alfred, NY
    2014 Best Cast Metal/Hollowware 2014: NICHE Awards, Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA
    2011 Pushing the Limits, featured article by Vanessa Kotz in American Style Magazine, p. 19-21
    2010, monumental slumped Maori heads on Art Palm Beach homepage
    2010 Primal Inspirations, exhibition announcement by Ferdinand Hampson in AACG newsletter
    2008 Artist of the Month, Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass, Dallas, TX
    2007 Merit Award: Lexington Art League, Lexington, KY
    2007 Professional Artist-in-Residence: Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, WA
    2006 Best Slumped/Cast Glass 2006: NICHE Awards, Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA
    2006 In Good Hands, NICHE Magazine, Baltimore, MD
    2005 New York Gallery Guide, review of Grasping the Intangible
    ARTnews, review of Periodic Table by Robin Rice in January issue
    2003 International Glass Art, Richard Wilfred Yelle
    2003 Sculpture Award: Artsbridge National Exhibition, Prallsville Mills, Stockton, NJ
    2003-4 Best of Show, Riverside Festival of the Arts, Phillipsburg, NJ
    2001, 2003-4 Artist Grant: Contemporary Glass Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
    1999 Harlov-Davis Award: Phillip’s Mill Art Association, New Hope, PA
    1998 Award of Excellence, Mountain Art Show, Bernardsville, NJ
    1998 1st Place Sculpture, Lamington Invitational, Lamington, NJ


    2015 OMG: Objects in Metal & Glass (2-person), Habatat Galleries, West Palm Beach, FL (12/12/14-1/13/15)
    Living With Craft (national invitational), Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA (12/5/14-1/31/15)

    2014 Ancestries in Glass, Echt Gallery, Chicago, IL (10/18-ongoing)
    Hot Glass 2014, The Arts Commission, Toledo, OH (9/25-10/30)
    Mansion in May “Blairsden”, Peapack-Gladstone, NJ (5/1-5/31)
    43rd Annual GAS Conference, GAS Live Auction, Chicago, IL (3/22)
    International Exhibition of Glass Kanazawa, Notojima Glass Art Museum, Nanao, JAPAN (thru 1/26)

    2013 Craft Forms 2013 (international juried), Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA (12/6/13-1/24/14)
    Intl. Exhibition of Glass Kanazawa, 21st Century Museum Contemp Art, Kanazawa, JP (thru 11/4)
    41th Annual International Invitational & EXPOSÉ, Habatat Galleries, Royal Oak, MI (4/27-5/25)
    Gallery Artist, Heller Gallery, New York, NY (ongoing)
    Summer Installation, Pismo Gallery, Aspen, CO

    2012 Group Exhibition, Habatat Galleries, Royal Oak, MI (summer)
    Gallery Artist, Heller Gallery, New York, NY (ongoing)
    Gallery Artist, Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia, PA (ongoing)
    50 Years of Studio Glass, Studio 7 Gallery, Bernardsville, NJ

    2011 Primal Inspirations: Contemporary Artifacts (museum show traveling through 2012)
    Fete de Verre: FUTUR (auction to benefit UrbanGlass), Capitale, NYC (4/16)
    39th Annual International Glass Invitational, Habatat Galleries, MI (4/28-5/29)
    GlassWeekend 2011, (with Habatat MI), Wheaton Arts, Millville, NJ (6/10-6/12)

    2010 & earlier 38th Annual International Glass Invitational, Habatat Galleries, MI (4/24-5/25)
    Art Palm Beach (with Habatat Galleries, MI), Convention Center, Palm Beach, FL (1/14-1/19)
    Group Exhibitions, Heller Gallery, New York, NY (ongoing)
    SOFA Chicago (with Habatat Galleries Michigan), Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
    37th Annual International Glass Invitational, Habatat Galleries, Royal Oak, MI (4/25-7/31)
    Reflections in Glass (invitational), Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA
    Group Exhibition, Sandra Ainsley Gallery, Toronto, CANADA
    On View, Heller Gallery, New York, NY
    Gallery Artists, Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia, PA (ongoing, through present)
    Celebrating Connections, Museum of American Glass, Millville, NJ (4/24-12/31/08)
    Sculptural Perspectives (2007 SOLO), Studio 7, Bernardsville, NJ
    Transformational Matter, Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery, Pittsburgh
    Hot Glass in the Bluegrass, Lexington Art League, Lexington, KY
    Glass Birthday Suit 2007, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Pittsburgh, PA
    25th Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, Empire-Fulton Park, DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY
    Art Miami 2006 (w/Heller Gallery, New York), Miami Beach Convention Center
    Craft Forms 2006 (international juried), Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA
    Grasping the Intangible (2005 SOLO), Heller Gallery, New York, NY
    SOFA Chicago 2005 (w/Heller Gallery, New York), Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
    A Periodic Table (2004 themed invitational), Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
    Biennial of Glass, (2004 juried) Robert Lehman Gallery, UrbanGlass, Brooklyn, NY
    Group Exhibition(s) (2003-2004) Heller Gallery, New York, NY
    International Emerging Glass Artists (01-03 invitational), Tobin-Hewett Gallery, Louisville, KY
    Red, White & Blue (2002 invitational: 9/11 Memorial Show), Heller Gallery, New York, NY
    Gallery Artists (2002-2004), The Glass Gallery, Bethesda, MD
    Glass America 1999-2001 (national invitational), Heller Gallery, New York, NY
    Glass Now Annual Auction, National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, PA (2000 to present)
    70th, 72nd, 78t Annual Juried Exhibition (‘99/’01/‘07), Phillips’ Mill Art Assoc, New Hope, PA
    Gen X / Year of Young Glass (1999/2000 national juried), Marta Hewett Gallery, Cincinnati, OH