From a distance, it looks like a heap of discarded lobster claws, an assortment you might find above the high tide line at the beach. But come closer and you will notice that the claws gleam in multiple shades of green, brown, blue and red. Each of the one hundred claws is made of blown glass. They lie upon four plates of thick glass imbued with X-ray images of real lobster claws, suspended over a white surface.
This is not your typical pile of lobster shells.
The work, entitled Glass Claws: Pulse Point, is a sculpture created in 2007 by artist Richard Remsen. It was purchased this year by the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland and is part of the museum’s exhibit entitled Maine: The Farnsworth Collection.
Remsen received his bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1974, where he studied with famed glassblower Dale Chihuly. After graduation he promptly returned to Maine, where he opened The Foundry in the old blueberry processing building on his West Rockport farm. He began creating bronze sculptures as well as blown and cast glass pieces, including a line of glass fishing lures. He even crafted metal lobster claw hammers and golf putters.
“Icons, like the lobster, are very simple. When people see them they recognize what they are,” Remsen said in an interview published on the Maine Art Hill web site. “It draws on the history of their memories, and it gives an added dimension to the work.”
“[Glassblowing] is such a spontaneous process. The glass is hot. I have to be moving. There is color. It’s like painting, but I use light and optics. Trying to figure out how the different colors will blend,” said Remsen.