Glorious Glass in the Garden

May 2010

Hans Godo Fräbel’s art has found a perfect pairing with the fascinating flora and fauna at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, a nationally recognized “living museum” of horticulture, education and beauty located in Richmond, Virginia. Fräbel, the world’s most famous flamework glass artist and an avid gardener, is continuously inspired by nature and the world around him. This book documents highlights of “Glorious Glass in the Garden,” the exhibition that he and his team of glass artists created exclusively for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

Fräbel’s installation at Lewis Ginter brings a new, reflective view of his art amid gorgeous gardens, a classical Conservatory and other inviting public areas. Designed to dazzle visitors with elements from an amazing fantasy world, the exhibition is filled with whimsical and otherworldly figures, mysterious masks, playful sculptures and breathtaking botanical interplay.

All Fräbel’s exhibitions, like the one at Lewis Ginter, are unique to their surrounding environments. For “Glorious Glass in the Garden,” Fräbel utilized the Garden’s unique vegetation and diverse landscape settings to optimally stage his amazing glass sculptures and large-scale installations.

“Nature in its splendor certainly inspires, and nature interpreted through Fräbel’s art provides us another meaningful experience of beauty,” said Frank Robinson, executive director at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. “I think our Garden’s nineteenth-century namesake, Lewis Ginter, and his beloved niece, Grace Arents, the Garden’s benefactor, would be pleased by this marriage of art and nature. When you visit, look very carefully – on a limb, across the water, in the reflection of a glass lily – you just might see ‘Miss Grace’ smiling because you are here, sharing her dream.”

Inspired by the Garden’s history, architecture and landscapes, Fräbel debuts several sculptures made especially for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. New at this exhibition is the “High Wheeling Longfellows” installation, which consists of a Longfellow riding a High Wheel bicycle and three other Longfellows standing nearby as if waiting their turn to enjoy a ride. Fräbel created this sculpture after hearing about the property’s original use in the late 1800’s as the site of the Lakeside Wheel Club for Richmond’s bicycling enthusiasts.

“Glorious Glass in the Garden” also debuts a series of new fantasy flowers, all completely imaginary and spun by the unique mind of Hans Godo Fräbel. All show some element of real flowers, but the colors, and sometimes the lack of color, clearly demonstrate that these are fantasies of imagination. The transparency and reflective quality of clear glass in these artworks contrasts and accentuates the beauty of the more intense color of flowers and foliage.

Since the opening of the Fräbel Studio in 1968, flowers and plants have formed an important element of the Studio’s realistic art repertoire. Flowers of the lily, dogwood, rose and various orchids have been created in realistic fashion using borosilicate glass. Wielding his creative expression, Fräbel designs glass botanicals, interpreting the essence of plant life while displaying the magic and irresistible beauty of glass.

After his initial visit, Fräbel stated, “Lewis Ginter is just a gorgeous botanical garden and I am proud and honored to showcase my work in this beautiful setting.”

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden‎
1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, VA 23228-4700
(804) 262-9887‎
http://www.lewisginter.org