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Sculpting with hot glass, both solid and blown forms, Richard Jolley assembles fragments of a narrative: a female torso, a bird in flight, a baseball-capped fellow with a sphere or vase. Once the viewer is captured, he or she is compelled to unravel the story, which is always about relationships and the human condition. Mark Richard Leach, now director of the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, has written, "(Jolley's) figurative tableau are ironic, enigmatic, and deceptive".
Jolley's figures, which are infused with a Pop Art sensibility, are sometimes cartoon-like in their exaggeration and undeniably pretty with their translucent purples, yellows, and cobalt blues. Jolley's work is included in the collections of the Knoxville Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, the Museum of Arts & Design, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.