Peter Zelle

Art Form(s)

Glass, Sculpture


[email protected]

I am interested in collaborative work.

St. Paul

Artist Statement

My art is an exercise of my intuition and my passion for color and form. I think of my sculptures as compositions. I bring together shapes, patterns, textures, and colors in order to orchestrate a dynamic and harmonious whole. I want viewers to be moved by the richness of the colors. I want them to be drawn into the interplay of textures and shapes, to feel the thickness, smoothness and roughness of the glass. I want my work to create a sense of excitement—a flash of recognition and the wonder of discovery. I aim to provide viewers with a space for contemplation and a respite from the dissonance of the modern world. I am currently working on a series titled “Sentinels and Guardians.” The pieces are figurative in scale, and they are composed of abstract interior landscapes. I imagine these sculptural bodies standing watch and asserting a physical presence. I want to capture viewers’ imaginations, first by drawing them in with the color and shapes of the pieces, and then by leading them to find associative forms within the interior spaces.

Peter Zelle uses glass as a medium to capture and transmit colored light in a sculptural form. He feels colored light has a direct path, both emotionally and spiritually into our minds and bodies. His process begins by carving low clay reliefs. This gives Peter the freedom to conjure and explore form, line, texture and compositions. He uses his imagination to picture the luminous effect he is bringing into the world once the clay relief is cast into glass. His intention is to create sculptures that people can instinctively relate to, touch, feel, and connect with on emotional level.
He cites some of his influences as paintings by Arshile Gorky, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky. Sculptures by Louise Nevelson, David Smith, and Peter Krasnow, a relative whose 20th century sculptures and paintings were present in Zelle’s boyhood home.
Peter received his BFA in Sculpture/Glass from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1987. After completing his degree he apprenticed for the sculptor Howard Ben Tre in Providence, RI. Peter then move to Minneapolis and established Zelle Glass Studio in 1992, a production glass blowing and sculpture studio. Over the course of 15 years Zelle Glass Studio sold functional and decorative glass art in over 100 galleries across the United States. While supporting himself this way, Peter slowly developed his sculptural process and esthetic language without having to compromise his true artistic intentions to make a living. As he matured so did his art.
By 2007, Peter felt it was time to dedicate himself solely to his fine art and closed the glass blowing part of his studio. Peter’s focus has been on developing and refining his cast glass sculptures. His use of color, expressiveness, and the scale of his cast glass pieces, are some of the elements that make Peters’ work so compelling. Zelle’s work has been exhibited nationally at SOFA Chicago, Spectrum Miami, Art San Diego, Art Santa Fe, and Art Silicon Valley/San Francisco. His work is held throughout the United States in many private and corporate collections, including those of the Minnesota Museum of American Art, Target Corporation, The Bremer Foundation, Hormel Corporation, Childrens' Hospital, Boston, MA.

Work Samples

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