Save the Date: Safety, art & the sliding glass door

Glass panes by Robert Brown/Photo by Larry Underhill

By Christopher Yee

If you grew up in a Los Angeles home built during the 1960s and 1970s, it probably included a sliding glass door that opened up on to a patio or backyard. They were fashionable and convenient but they could also prove a safety hazard as anyone who bumped into one could tell you.  In response, artist Robert W. Brown created a series of six-inch square glass panes that could be attached to the transparent doors, acting  as “safety devices” to prevent children from walking into the doors. Those colorful panes sold during the 1960s as safety devices are now collectibles that are displayed for their artistic value. Those panes and other works by Brown, who taught at Glendale Community College, will be exhibited in a show –  “Robert Brown:  Glass and Serigraphs”  that opens Saturday, July 9 at the  New Puppy Gallery in Cypress Park.

The square glass panes were originally affixed to sliding glass doors with epoxy, making them harder to display, so New Puppy commissioned caseandgrain to create an archival mode of displaying the glass squares that wouldn’t require epoxy.

Gary Ferguson, caseandgrain’s owner/designer, came up with several subtle solutions, including walnut holders finished with a natural mixture of tung and linseed oils.  Using the holders, collectors may select four squares from the collection and design their own decorative piece to display on a mantle or hang in a window.

Brown, a print maker, studio glass artist, professor of art at Glendale Community College, ceramicist and figure artist, died at age 92 in 2009, and his daughter, Jan Reilly, donated her father’s entire collection to the Brand Associates.  The remaining contents of his Glendale studio will be on display along with several pieces from private collections.

New Puppy will hold a grand opening for the exhibit, titled “Robert Brown:  Glass and Serigraphs,” on Saturday, July 9 from 7 to 11 p.m. The show will run through July 31.

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