Therman Statom – sculptor, glass artist, and painter – is probably best known for his life-size glass ladders, chairs, tables, miniature houses, and box-like paintings, all created through the extraordinary technique of gluing window glass together. He paints portions of these sculptures in vibrant colors with an absolute air of spontaneity and often attaches found objects to them. Sometimes he fashions his own blown or cast glass objects for inclusion with these sculptures.
Statom, however, thrives on the creation of daring, often playful, site-specific installations, having produced over a dozen for museums and galleries across the United States since 1980. These temporal works have been constructed in such cities as Cincinnati, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Toledo, and Washington, D.C. His installation Hydra (1996) at the Toledo Museum of Art incorporated works from that museum’s collection that included paintings by Van Gogh and Cézanne and the enormous cut glass punch bowl that Libbey made for the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Statom has also executed commissions for large-scale permanent works at the Los Angeles Central Public Library and at the Los Angeles County Metro Rail, Westlake/MacArthur Park Station in 1993.
Therman Statom’s fascination with art began through his childhood friendship with his Washington, D.C. neighbor, Cady Noland, whose father Kenneth was then creating his famed target paintings. Young Therman told Kenneth Noland that he could paint like that too, and made his own version. From Noland, Statom realized that he didn’t have to be a doctor, like his father, to make a living. Statom went on to study glass blowing at Pilchuck in 1972 and obtained degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA-1974) and the Pratt Institute of Art & Design (MFA-1978). His work is keenly informed by a broad knowledge of art history. His site-specific installations have grown progressively richer. Critic Matthew Kangas has called Therman Statom "one of the most significant and prolific American experimental glass artists," and has stated that his "temporary installations using glass comprise a highly important (if subsequently destroyed) body of work."