Painting has been the core of my creative process and purpose, even though I followed a path that led me to choose stained glass design for the majority of my career. Previously I was dedicated to being a young painter with promise under the German Expressionist Karl Zerbe at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts (BMSFA). The Korean War intervened, and after 2 years of service, I completed my 5th year of study, a serious painter, intending to go to Europe. My ticket to Europe, the GI Bill, necessitated a change of study to stained glass. After three years at the Edinburgh College of Art, punctuated by three summers in the Art Museums of Europe, I found I was enraptured equally with painting and glass.
It was the 1960’s and the Revival of the “lost art” of stained glass. Fate stepped in and I received numerous commissions and a secure teaching engagement at the BMSFA lasting several years. I initially met with opposition from the stained glass establishment in Boston after my first installation, a majestically scaled 50-foot high window in nearby Norwell, Massachusetts. This did not deter me. I continued with a number of monumental installations in New England and Great Britain.
Nevertheless, painter I remained in my heart and soul. This proved to be a great complement to my stained glass design, which was received as “a fresh approach.” As I continued work in glass, my thoughts of returning to painting were nurtured. Throughout my career, I was keeping good company, if only in my imagination, with the painters I so admired.
The long space between my life as a stained glass designer and now as a painter was a time of transition, merging the energy and assurance gained in glass design with all the subtleties of painting. I broke my long “fast” two years ago to enter a painting for the first Art St. Louis show “Maturity and Its Muse”, and surprised myself, simultaneously, accepting an opportunity for a solo exhibition of 54 paintings at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in November 2016. I wish for those who come to see the work of my quiet years to find satisfaction, a quiet voice, and a change of pace.
Harvey Salvin’s exhibit will open on Thursday, 10 May, with a reception from 12:30 to 2:30 on 13 May. The exhibit will be hanging through 3 June.