Bending the Light
Stained Glass © Larry Zgoda
Larry Zgoda was born in 1950 in Chicago. His father, Alexander, was a carpenter, and his mother, Augustina, a seamstress. Early exposure to handwork marked out his life’s path. In 1975, he earned a BA in film making from Columbia College in Chicago. But having discovered stained glass the previous year, his interests turned in that direction, and he was soon working with old school masters while also self-educating. His passion for the medium intensified in 1980, when he encountered the unique art and architecture of Chicago’s “Old Town”, along with one of its most versatile masters, Edgar Miller (1899-1993). A genuine renaissance man, Miller became friend, mentor, and collaborator.
Larry and his artist wife Joan currently live on Chicago’s north side, their house, aside from minimal living space, devoted entirely to their studios. In addition to stained glass, his interests include architecture, furniture, lighting, and associated crafts such as mosaic, gilding, metals, and stone. Featured in numerous US arts publications and galleries, his art is permanently represented in museums, universities, institutional buildings, and private residences. After a long period during which public interest in stained-glass had lessened, Larry Zgoda is among the most significant artists leading its contemporary resurgence.
Larry Zgoda creates original art in stained glass. Anticipating a cultural renaissance of ornament in architecture, he sees this medium as one answer to that need. While his designs often echo the line, pattern, and color of their intended environments, his compositions emerge from a confluence of architectural geometry and the sinuous, organic contours of nature. His manifesto, “Genuine and permanent beauty in the built environment”, declares lasting beauty a fundamental value in human works, both past and present. Knowing how today’s fashion may well “look dated in a decade”, he chooses to create art that will endure because its roots lie in natural and organic form. Though variously abstract, his work rejects the facile pastiches and shallow solipsisms of the postmodern. It seeks instead, through archetypal forms, some vestige of the timeless and sacred for a secular age. His freestanding pieces often yield the aura of a tabernacle or small sanctum.
For our own pages, we’ve framed these works tightly, but when placed in the domestic and architectural surround, their dimensions magically enlarge. As light shifts subtly through the passage of each day, they deepen and enrich those spaces where we live and work, offering repeated, unexpected moments of quiet joy and transcendence.
Beside Larry Zgoda’s window glass, our selections include his hanging panels and freestanding “architonomous” works. You may view more examples, as well as the artist’s aesthetic philosophy, at larryzgodastudio.com