Kathleen Mulcahy and Ron Desmett | Program Notes

Kathleen Mulcahy and Ron Desmett

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Ron Desmett's "Prima Materia #1." - PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM JUDKIS
  • Photo courtesy of Jim Judkis
  • Ron Desmett's "Prima Materia #1."

If there is such a thing as royalty on Pittsburgh's art-glass scene, it must include Mulcahy and Desmett.

The pair, who are married and live in Oakdale, are artists of long standing in these parts. Mulcahy is a former Pittsburgh Center for the Arts artist of the year who's had solo exhibitions in galleries around the U.S. Her work was featured in the new book Masters: Blown Glass (Lark Books). Desmett's work, meanwhile, was recently acquired both by the Corning Museum of Glass and the Smithsonian Institution.

Together, working in glass and other sculptural media, they've also created several prominent public artworks and other commissions, including: 2008's "The Spirit of Duquesne" sculpture on Duquesne University's campus; the "tree" outside American Eagle Outfitters' corporate HQ, on the South Side; and the fabulously cosmic fixtures in the lobby of the North Side's New Hazlett Theater.

Perhaps most importantly for the city's glass culture, Mulcahy and Desmett spent the 1990s working to create what became the Pittsburgh Glass Center. The architecturally striking Friendship facility is a school, gallery and glass studio that's helped put Pittsburgh on the national glass-art map, regularly hosting shows featuring the nation's top glass artists.

The PGC was also, it's easy to forget now, an early anchor (along with Garfield Artworks and Dance Alloy) for the remaking of that stretch of Penn as an arts corridor.

This Fri., Oct. 15, from 7-11 p.m., the aforementioned AEO hosts Art on Fire 10 Celebration & Auction, the PGC's 10th anniversary fundraiser (www.pittsburghglasscenter.org).

Tickets for that chic blowout are $95. But if you just want to see some of Mulcahy's and Desmett's work, your best bet is Glass: A Decade and Change, at Borelli Edwards Gallery.

The new show is a duet. Desmett's contributions are some of his famous "lidded trunk vessels" -- black matte forms that reference ancient urns but incorporate the textures inside hollow trees. (One is pictured here.) Mulcahy, who's best known for her oversized, top-like "spinners," offers some of her new takes on blown-glass orbs.

Glass: A Decade and Change opens to the public at 10 a.m. Sat., Oct. 16, at Borelli Edwards, 3583 Butler St., in Lawrenceville (412-687-2606). A talk by the artists is scheduled for 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Then, from 3-4:30 p.m. that day, you can really see these two in their element, as Mulcahy and Desmett give a working demo at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, 5472 Penn Ave., in Friendship (412-365-2145).

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