Nikki Pynn

Movement Brought to Mind


April 9  until  June 1


April 11  4:00-7:00

A large part of the new exhibit at the Montgomery Museum of Art and History came from a trash can in the back of a bicycle shop.  Before you decide to give this one a miss, see what stained glass artist Nikki Pynn has done with these found objects.

Bicycle wheels, some with spokes missing, now contain pieces of stained glass, some in quite intricate patterns.  One work tells a story based on a poem about a couple who come home to discover they have lost the key to the front door.  The sun, represented by a slice of a rondel (glass cylinder), shines through a window and reveals a glint off a shiny object.  The shiny object is their key, now in the beak of a crow.

Each of the five bicycle wheels in the exhibit need to be supported somehow, and here we see how Pynn’s mechanical skills complement her artistic talents.  One back wheel is supported by a book rack from another bicycle.  Another wheel is supported by some handlebars with the fork holding a front wheel.  The piece titled, “The Endangered Species of Skates” is sitting on a cobbler’s last with the foot in a roller skate.

The bicycle wheels still turn even though they are heavy with glass and solder.  Zinc solder is not only lighter weight than lead solder, but it stretches less, making it a good choice for these pieces.  Too much weight on one side would make the wheels hard to turn, so it can be a bit of a challenge to get right.  She might let you turn one, but please ask first.

Pynn decided to work with stained glass when she rented a room in one of those beautiful houses in the Fan District in Richmond and was enthralled with its stained-glass windows.  She was also inspired by the works of Marc Chagall on a trip to Nice.

Though stained glass is her primary medium, Pynn is also a painter.  You may have seen some of her murals in our area.  Recently, she has been working with colored pencils, and some of these drawings are in the exhibit.  Her use of pencils to make lots of lines is reminiscent of the way van Gogh uses lots of lines, a technique he carried over from an early job making linocuts.  Be sure to look at these drawings up close or you might miss the details.

The Museum is proud to announce that Nikki Pynn was recently accepted into the Southern Highland Craft Guild, a prestigious organization based near Ashville.  The five bicycle wheels in this exhibit persuaded the judges to offer her membership.  Be sure to congratulate Nikki on her accomplishment when you attend the opening reception Thursday, April 11 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Montgomery Museum, 4 East Main Street Christiansburg.