Published 11:00 pm Monday, September 2, 2013

Walter Black inspects a piece of blown glass artwork on display at the Johnson Center.

Walter Black inspects a piece of blown glass artwork on display at the Johnson Center.

Orbix artist featured in Alabama Biennial Exhibit

The “Celebrating Contemporary Art in Alabama: The Biennial 2013” exhibit at the Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy features four local artists, Walter Black, Russell Everett, Duane Paxson and Larry Percy. The exhibition also includes an artist whose work, if not his name, is familiar to people of the area.

Mark Leputa is a glass blowing artist who works with Orbix Hot Glass in Fort Payne. Orbix has twice created glass ornaments for the Johnson Center’s holiday collection.

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“Orbix Hot Glass is nationally recognized and is a top contender in Martha Stewart’s American Made Movement promotion, said Morgan Drinkard, Center executive director. “American Made spotlights the maker, supports the local and celebrates the handmade. We are honored to have Mark Leputa as one of our exhibiting artists for the Alabama Biennial.”

Leputa said that his greatest sense of self-satisfaction and pride are found in the creation process.

He graduated from the University of Pittsburg in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. However, he felt his imagination was being suppressed and turned to art to liberate his ideas.

“Mark Leputa was in New Zealand in 2004 when he discovered glass as ‘his’ medium,” Drinkard said. “His art captivates the viewer through shape and negative space. His work is incredibly beautiful and you can’t help but go back to look at it again and again.”

Drinkard said the community will have an opportunity to visit with Leputa and other participating artists on Sunday, Sept. 8 when the Johnson Center hosts an artists’ reception. The reception will be from 1 until 3 p.m. and the public is invited.

“‘Celebrating Contemporary Art in Alabama: The Biennial 2013’ is an exhibition organized and curated by the Johnson Center for the Arts every two years,” Drinkard said. “All artists who have received an Alabama State Council on the Arts Fellowship award in the visual arts or craft categories are invited to participate.

“As the third in the series, the 2013 Biennial has more than 100 pieces of art from more than 45 Alabama artists. Works include woodwork, paintings, photographs, sculpture, fabric collages, mixed media works and clay.”

The Biennial will be on display until October 26 at the Johnson Center for the Arts, an entity of the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center, located in downtown Troy. Exhibition admission is free. The museum is open Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and until 3 p.m. on Saturday.