Project Description

Mark Abildgaard

Mark Abildgaard
Ceramic Workshop

Art has been defined as an awareness of relationships that leads to transformation, then transcendence. In the experience of Mark Abildgaard’s art the emphasis is on transformation. Materials, process, product, the experience of the artist, even the interaction with a viewer, involve a series of transformations. His art historical genealogy might be traced in a line from ancient Egyptian figures, Greek Cycladic idols, through the 20th century, Constantin Brancusi, Isamu Nouguchi, Stephen DeStaebler in the west, then to the Pacific Island wood carvings of Hawaii and the organic raku forms of Japan. The common element of the visual language in all of these references is the articulation of pure form, color and texture and the embodiment of a spiritual power. With an MFA from the University of Hawaii in 1983 and a visiting artist position at the Tokyo Glass Art Institute in 1984, Abildgaard’s aesthetic was formed by both intellectual study and direct experience combined with a refinement of his personal spiritual path.

Abildgaard’s art belongs fully to the tradition of art where the forms carry a spirit, are given life by that spirit. So his images are born of a transformative process, which can be aligned with the Asian/ Pacific philosophical traditions of “letting go of the ego” or the desire for control. He speaks of his use of a practice learned from a 17th C. Japanese Zen monk, Enku,

“Enku used the practice of carving with a hatchet to remove direct control and let the force of nature create. I use a wood paddle on the clay to remove the self-conscious, to keep life in the working process. All of the figures on my paddle boat have paddle marks.”

-Geri DePaoli

Mark Abildgaard Artwork

Mark Abildgaard CV


1983 M.F.A., University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii

1979 B.A., San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California

Selected Exhibitions

2018 Marking the Path, Group Show, Grand Theatre Center for the Arts, Tracy, CA

2017 30 Years of Kiln Cast Sculpture, Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA

Crossings: A Boat Show, Bender Gallery, Asheville, NC

Cross Currents, Richmand Art Center, Richmond, CA

El Corazon, Bathhouse Cultural Center, Davis, CA

2016 Talismans, Maria Elena Kravets Gallery, Cordoba, Argentina

2015 Enlightened Glass, San Jose Works Gallery, San Jose, CA

2013 Earth, Wind and Fire, Philabaum Glass Gallery, Tucson, AZ

2012 Red Hot and Blown: Red Hot and Blown: Contemporary Glass from the Crocker’s Collection,
The Crocker Museum, Sacramento, CA

Playing with Fire, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA

2011 Curious Harmony, Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

Offerings – Sacred Images in Nature, Masaoka Glass Gallery, Carmel Valley, CA

2008 Hot/Cold, Group Glass Exhibition, Micaela Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Suspended Elements, Solo Exhibition, John Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA

2007 Tribal Visions, Kuivato Gallery, Sedona, AZ

2006 Aquarium Invitational, Vespermann Gallery, Atlanta, GA

Made in California – Oakland Museum Café, Oakland, CA

2005 Offerings – Solo Exhibition, John Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA

Out of the Mold, Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Newport News, VA

Figure it Out, Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

2004 GLASS – Conley Art Gallery, California State University, Fresno

2003 Casting Spirits – Kuivato Gallery, Sedona, AZ

20/20 Vision – CGCA Fellows Exhibition, Museum of American Glass, Millville, NJ

Figurative Work in Clay and Glass, Gallery Alexander, La Jolla, CA

2002 Glass Sculpture – Solo Exhibition, John Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA

A Figurative Show – Virginia Brier Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2001 Transmutations – Clay into Glass, Bullseye Connection Gallery, Portland, OR

The Figure, Carolyn Blake Gallery, Charleston, SC
2000 Glass Sculpture, Portia Gallery, Chicago, IL

1999 Glass Sculpture by Mark Abildgaard, The Rachael Collection, Aspen, CO

Figurative Glass Sculpture, The Miller Gallery, New York, NY

1998 Sculptural Perspectives for the New Millennium, The Leff Foundation,

St. Helena, CA

1997 Calido! Contemporary Warm Glass, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ

Glass, Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, Owensboro, KY

1996 Crocker – Kingsley Exhibition, The Crocker Museum, Sacramento, CA

1995 Light Interpretations The Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA

1994 GLASS, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA

1993 Glass Invitational, Dorothy Weiss Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1991 West Coast Glass, California Crafts Museum, San Francisco, CA

1990 American Glassmaking, The Corning Museum on Glass, Corning, NY


The Crocker Museum, Sacramento, California

The Oakland Museum, Oakland, California

The Triton Museum, Santa Clara, California

The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York

The Fresno Museum of Art, Fresno, California

Racine Art Museum, Racine Wisconsin

The Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia

The Wheaton Museum of American Glass, Millville, New Jersey

The Contemporary Museum of Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii

Saks Fifth Avenue, Corporate Collection, Phoenix, Arizona

Pacific Enterprises, Corporate Collection, Los Angeles, California

McDonald’s Corporation, Corporate Collection, Oak Brook, Illinois

Hawaii State Foundation of Culture and the Arts, Honolulu, Hawaii

The Persis Collection of Contemporary Art, Honolulu, Hawaii

The Saxe Collection, Private Collection, San Francisco, California


2015 “Granary”- 2015, 12’x7’x5’, blown glass and stainless steel

Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, Dogwood Park, Sacramento CA

“Rainbow Wave”- 2015, blown glass and steel cable, 4’x16’x4’

Art Consulting Services, Mercy General Hospital, Sacramento, CA

Installed in the entrance of a café inside the hospital

2011 “Green Light Column” – 2011, slumped glass block, stainless steel, LED lights,


Griffiss Land Development Corporation, 153 Brooks Rd., Rome, NY

Installed in an outdoor sculpture garden

2010 “Fire Rainbow” – 2010, blown glass, steel cable, 16’x12’x12’

Yolo County Library – Mary L. Stephens Davis Branch

2801 – 2nd Street, Davis, CA

“Stringers” – 2010, blown glass, steel cable, 30’x5’x1’ each

Embarcadero Partners LLC, Office building

100 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto, CA

2009 “Suspended Element Curtain” – 2009, blown glass, stainless steel, 3’x22’x6”

DESS Building, 25 N. Cottonwood, Woodland, CA

“Light Columns” – 2009, slumped glass block, stainless steel, LED lights,

10’x 1.5’x1.5’ each

Griffiss Land Development Corporation, 153 Brooks Rd., Rome, NY

Installed in outdoor sculpture park

2008 “Tree of Life” – 2008, stainless steel, blown glass, 16’x10’x8’

Woodland Healthcare Medical Building, 632 W.Gibson Rd., Woodland, CA

2007 “Virga” – 2007, blown glass, steel cable, 36’x18’x15’

Embarcadero Capital Partners LLC, Office Building,

1301 Shoreway Rd., Belmont, CA

All Artists