American Artist Jill Casty and her Works of Glass

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Jill Casty, whose first exhibition in Mexico of her fused glass sculptures was held at Lila Magallon’s Galeria, La Encantada in the spring, has just returned from a wonderful month-long exhibition of her work in Italy. Although her work has been presented in a number of galleries in different cities in Italy, this solo show was the largest collection of her work yet to be shown there. It consisted of 18 ensembles of glass and metal wall and standing sculptures shown in the Galeria Carla Castellana in the Tuscan town of Pietrasanta, an art center near Pisa.
“The opening in Pietrasanta was great fun and wonderfully exciting,” Jill says. “Pietrasanta is such a lovely and art filled town.  In the center it has a large rectangular Piazza with two churches (one is now a museum), galleries, cafes, shops and restaurants.  All around the Piazza, the restaurants and wine bars have seating all facing toward the center.  Great for bumping into old friends and making new friends. Three pedestrian-only streets radiate out from both sides of the Piazza, each lined with more galleries and more restaurants and shops. Cars are allowed only one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon – making delivery to and from the gallery a complicated, logistical problem.”
At an evening Art Opening, tables are set out in the street with wines and “apperitivi,” and people stop, chat, stay or stroll on, and of course go inside to the see the art. In the summer season, galleries are open until midnight, and at midnight and into the wee hours the streets and restaurants are alive and vibrant, even more full of energy and people than in the early evening.
An American artist, Jill is hardly in America these days. The special trip to Italy for the show was actually an interruption of her current yearlong stay in La Paz. Last year she spent six months in La Paz and six months in Pisa—with two short stays in California. Over several previous years, she and her husband, the writer Alan Casty, have lived a year at time in an alternating sequence between Pisa and Pacific Grove, California.

Jill and her art thrive on this immersion in new, different and changing landscapes, cultures and people. “I’ve always responded to the particular flavor, the spirit of a place,” she says. “It’s not only the beauties and surprises of the natural landscape—of land, seas, sky. It’s also the emotional landscape of the people, the currents of the way of living in each particular place.”
When she first went to Tuscany—with the rolling hills of green and bright fields of red poppies, the endless skies, with the sea nearby at Pisa, and in the openness and spontaneity of the life of the people she encountered—it all came together. “I felt that my work had a new energy and intensity, a drama of rhythm and color.”
That kind of energy, intensity and creativity has been rekindled here in Baja Sur. “Nature has such dramatic, even strange, beauties here. There are the shifting blues of the sky and waters, sudden brilliant colors in the midst of stark deserts, those wonderful bold, bald hills and mountains. And all of it is given such a clarity by this intense, almost eye piercing light.  The sunsets seem closer, not only so dramatic over the hills, deserts, water, but somehow more personal.”
“My glass and this light were made for each other,” she continues. ”The changes in the glass as it reflects the changes in the light, mimics the changes in ones mood when we respond to the light around us, especially here.” Typical of the affinity her work has with the colors and vistas and the moods of the natural life here are a pair of standing pieces, ‘Reflections on Tecolote.’ “For me, these pieces capture the essence of the shifting, merging colors of land, sea, sky during a late afternoon at the beach.”
Two tabletop pieces can now be seen among a strong and varied collection of Jill‘s work, including both standing and wall hanging sculptures, at Dana Lieb’s Pez Gordo Gallery at The Shoppes at Palmilla, in San Jose del Cabo. In addition, a quartet of works is still on display at La Encantada in La Paz. This fall, she is looking forward to the presentation of her work at a gallery in Todos Santos.
Jill’s current plan for working and living—and enjoying—is to stay immersed in the wonderful winter and spring seasons in La Paz. And show her new inspirations here in Baja Sur before heading for Italy again and continuing this pleasant and inspiring combination of commuting between Pisa and La Paz.
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