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The Art of Glass - Ken Daley

May 23-July 8, 1999


Representatives from A & D Neon install Ken Daley's exterior neon piece as the artist supervises at TCC Visual Arts Center, Portsmouth, VA KEN DALEY
Dialectic Dilemma #4: Half Empty/Half Full
Neon, 1999, 15' x 20'
neon art installation photo VAC neon art

Ken Daley:

I have used neon in my work since the early 70s. I consider it a twentieth century graphic medium, one that is electrically and intrinsically connected to the world of signs and language.

Dialectic Dilemma #4: Half Empty/Half Full is part of a series of images I have designed that reflect on numerous dichotomous expressions that we find in the language of our common wisdom. "Is the glass half empty or half full?" is a language of play-a cliché of a question, the answer to which will supposedly reveal the responder as a pessimist or an optimist, a cynic or an idealist (unless the question is addressed to an engineer who would most likely avoid the psychological and philosophical implications altogether by matter-of-factly informing us that we have twice as much glass as needed.)

I heard Bill Cosby, in his commencement address at Old Dominion University in 1998, give what I think is the most telling context for the answer to this dialectic dilemma. Cosby related how as a young man in college he was posed this question by his philosophy professor. Wanting to make a good impression by returning with the right answer, he went home and sought the answer from his storied grandmother, who though formally uneducated was nevertheless a woman of great wisdom in Mr. Cosby's eyes. Her reply? "Depends on who's a'pourin' and who's a'drinkin'."

And perhaps we might add, "who's a'payin'?"


[Art of Glass Home ~ Ken Daley ~ Kent Ipsen ~ T.D. Siegmund ~ Student Gallery ]