THE MUSEUM OF AMERICAN GLASS
The Stained Glass of J. Kenneth Leap 
A Ten Year Retrospective


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Born in Camden County in 1964, J. Kenneth Leap painted and exhibited watercolors locally before entering the Rhode Island School of Design to pursue a degree in illustration. During his second year, Leap transferred into the Glass Department where he learned glass blowing, casting and the basics of stained glass construction. A trip to Europe in 1985 sparked his interest in glass painting, a medieval technique that would form the basis for his future professional work.

In 1987, Leap opened his studio, The Painted Window, in his hometown of Runnemede, New Jersey. He continued to explore the techniques of glass painting and apply these to the field of architectural glass. Working in a tradition that dates to the cathedrals of medieval Europe, Leap creates his panels by hand-painting colored pieces of glass with vitreous pigments. These pigments are fused to the glass by firing in a kiln before being assembled into stained glass panels using strips of lead. In 1994, Leap was invited to relocate his studio to Wheaton Village and become a ful time artist-in-residence.

This exhibition presents some of his smaller autonomous works. His architecturally installed panels are depicted by photographs and models. Leap's illustration background is evident throughout. His art is characterized by detailed, representational images from nature. In speaking of his work, Leap often credits one of his college professors with instilling in him the idea of rewarding the viewer for taking the time to look close. Frequently, Leap hides other images or symbolism in his work, which can be discerned only on close inspection.

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