I divide Barbara Urbańska-Miszczyk’s work in the field of artistic glass into two periods: the period related to industrial design that falls within the scope of her cooperation with the “Hortensja” Glassworks, crowned with raising the production of the glassworks to the rank of highly artistic (and how…), and the second period in which Barbara Urbańska, in the process of a creative search in this beautiful material, goes on to sculptural forms, looking for expressive values by creating works on their own or in arrangements of sets.
During this period, the artist avoids conventional “niceness” by showing great courage and full independence.
The works of this period were marked by the artist’s great individuality, which – during the numerous, rich expositions – has been particularly noticeable to critics from various countries.
Barbara Urbańska’s creative output in the field – Polish artistic glassware – holds an outstanding position.
Stanisław Dawski, catalogue Artistic glass. Barabara Urbańska-Miszczyk, Museum of Artistic Crafts, Branch of the National Museum in Poznań, Poznań 1985
Her début in design did not herald the later development of her talent. The first projects did not stand the comparison with the great diploma works. It was not until 1971 that Urbańska managed to consolidate a set of works allowing for the organisation of the first solo exhibition.
Part of this work from the turn of the 1970s refers to the style of the Wrocław school. In others, it introduces attempts to diversify the texture of decorative vessels by using cobalt aggregate overlays. The first attempts to sink colours into the inner spaces of thick-walled, colourless vases, developed in later years, come from this time.
The success of another individual exhibition of Miszczyk-Urbanska in 1976 was also determined by unique works, especially those of a clearly sculptural character such as the Orionite or Chiromashi sets.
Professor Paweł Banaś, Polskie Współczesne Szkło Artystyczne (Polish Contemporary Glass), 1982
Lived from 1936–2012. She graduated from the State High School of Fine Arts in Poznań, 1956. Graduated from the Faculty of Ceramics and Glass at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław (now the E. Geppert Academy of Art and Design), under Professor Stanisław Dawski, 1962.
Designer, then manager of the design centre and chief specialist for design at the “Hortensja” Household Glass Glassworks in Piotrków Trybunalski, 1962–1984. In 1978–1980 she was on a scholarship in the United States at the invitation of the Temple University Tyler School of Art.
Author of 70 designs registered with the Patent Office of the Polish People’s Republic. She received numerous awards and distinctions for her designs, incl. First Prize for the “model of the year 1982” at the International Fair in Poznań; gold medal and first prize at the National Glass Exhibition in Katowice, 1977.
Participated in over 100 solo and collective exhibitions at home and abroad. incl.: the National Museum in Poznań, 1985, the International Art Exhibition, Tokyo, 1977; Barbara Urbańska and her students, 18th Polish Days in Austria, and the Bezirksmuseum Döbling,Vienna, 2009.
Participated in the exhibitions of the “Minex” Export and Import Headquarters in Essen, Frankfurt am Main, Copenhagen, Leipzig, London, Milan, Istanbul and Stockholm, 1962–1984, and in 22 exhibitions of utility glass at the International Trade Fair in Poznań, 1962–1984 and at the “Interart” International Art Fair in Poznań, 1984–1988.
Her works are in museum and private collections, incl.: the National Museum in Wrocław; the National Museum in Poznań; the National Museum in Warsaw; the Karkonosze Museum in Jelenia Góra; the Schoen Palace Museum in Sosnowiec; the Stanisław Sankowski Regional Museum in Radomsko; the District Museum in Piotrków Trybunalski; the Polish Museum in America, Chicago, USA; the Corning Museum of Glass, New York, USA; and the State Museum in Trenton, USA.