"Perspective drawing was developed by painters of the Renaissance era. In their search for the spiritual perfection of image, painters devised various geometric methodologies for creating the illusion of three dimensional space. The point of infinity or vanishing point was the reference used to construct pictures in accordance with the laws of optics. Scholars of mathematics used these concrete visualizations to give the concept of infinity a precise meaning.
"In parallel with painting, Renaissance Venetian glassblowers aimed to depict a perfected, spiritually true reality through the use of point perspective. The appearance of infinite distance was created by elaborate patterning within the glass. These designs were generated by abstracting the geometric templates used to determine the relative proportion of objects within a picture plane. Great preparation and concentration was involved in creating patterns that formed the image of endlessness.
"It is the great virtue of Josiah McElheny's art that it dwells within and speculates relentlessly upon the eternal circularity of glass as objects and idea-- as the very emblem of human civilization in its stubborn hardness, its fictional transparency, and its extreme fragility. Like civilization itself, glass is destroyed only by violence. It does not wear away as stone and metal do, although its meaning, as an emblem of civilization's tough fragility, can wear away."
(Dave Hickey Josiah McElheny, Exh. cat., Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, 1999, pp. 20, 24).