Dan Neil Bannes
Winning awards is nothing new for Dan Barnes. He started taking Best of Show and First Place awards from the time he first exhibited his original glass designs nearly ten years ago. From accolades at local and regional shows to top honors at the Art Glass Festival in Lansing, Michigan, West Palm Beach Sunfest, and the Buffalo Grove Art Festival in Chicago, Dan's unique constructions have impressed jurors and fine arts fair visitors alike. The American Craft Council has selected him to exhibit in their Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, and Sarasota shows. The ACC Atlanta show alone receives over 1,400 applications and selects only 250 artists.
Dan grew up in a Henderson, Kentucky family of builders and cabinetmakers who instilled in him the standard of superior craftsmanship. At the University of Kentucky, he studied under Arturo Sandoval, Miles Weiner, and John Tuska, earning a BA in Human Environmental Design.
He opened his own business in 1986 and quickly earned an outstanding reputation in the design community for his originality and top quality craftsmanship in upholstery and furniture design. His upholstered pieces have been featured in several interior design shows.
While taking stained glass classes from Laura Hallock in Lexington, Dan was inspired to create his own designs in lighting and sculpture, combining glass with treated metals and crafted wood. He has taken art glass to a new level, envisioning and building on several original concepts.
An excellent example of his sculptural concept is Kentucky Ablaze. Commissioned by the Kentucky Arts Council to design the 2006 Governor's Awards in the Arts, Dan created mixed-media art glass constructions incorporating stained glass with turned eucalyptus resin burl wood and patina-finished copper.
"When I learned it was a Kentucky award, I wanted it to represent the state and the song, 'The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home,'" Dan said. The piece has also been compared to a "fiery mane".
A trip to Egypt in 2000 inspired Dan's fascination with sun symbols and inspired his line of Solar Discs - original, multi-dimensional sculptures that combine color, light, texture and depth. He continues to explore the concept, turning different exotic wood species to incorporate with new glass colors and varying arrangements of treated metals.
KET produced an excellent interview with Dan for their Kentucky Life show. View the video online to see Dan at work in his Lexington studio. He explains some of the processes he employs in his artwork as well as the inspirations that drive his ever expanding designs.
His fused glass pieces often incorporate dichroic glass, which has thin layers of metallic oxides applied to it so that it transmits one color and reflects others. The colors change as the viewer looks at the piece from different angles. Dan uses fused dichroic glass in his vessels and sculptures, here combining it with fused crushed glass to create a flowing lava effect. Recently he has designed glass-topped tables, incorporating both dichroic and crushed glass to cast and reflect the light.
My favorite sculptures are the large and curving assemblages Dan designs to stretch the limits of traditional stained glass construction. He first creates a form to hold the hundreds of glass pieces while he wraps and solders them together. A single sculpture takes weeks to complete. He then fabricates a steel armature or base to hold the waving form.