Robert Strobel’s fused glass panels stand still, neatly propped up on metal and wooden supports, but they look as if they’d just snuck off the wall of a Moroccan kitchen or out from the bushes of a Dutch garden. That effect is due partly to their vibrant, all-over flower patterns and partly to their irregular, full-bleed shapes. Glass is an unusual material out of which to make fine art: it tends to absorb whatever can be seen through its transparency, and it wants very much to have a functional purpose. Should Strobel’s candy-striped blooms become windows or trivets, as does so much artistry of its kind? The artist proposes a different idea altogether, inscribing BLACK LIVES MATTER in thick black letters on a yellow glass panel. In its combination of fragility and resilience, glass art becomes the materially logical protest sign for now.
—Lori Waxman 11/28/15 3:20 PM