Zora Palová comes from Slovakia. She was born in Bratislava in 1947 and attended the applied arts school there. Subsequently, she taught at the public art school in Nitra and worked as a designer, before returning to her hometown to attend the art academy. She at first took courses in painting and sculpture, but in 1971 transferred to Vacláv Cigler's department of architectural glass. After completing her studies four years later, she embarked on a career as an independent artist in Bratislava. Her sculpture and glass jewelry soon attracted attention and she began receiving public commissions and important awards. From 1996 to 2003, she headed the glass department at the University of Sunderland in the UK.
Palová's art is based on constructivist principles learned in what was then Czechoslovakia, but with her, they are tempered by feeling. She gives her sculptures titles that generate associations with natural phenomena and the human organism or psyche. The tactile element in her use of the material is correspondingly strong. Mould melting underscores the semi-opaque character of the glass, permitting light to show through it with a matt, subdued glow and, in places where the sculptures open up, light grow lighter in tone or cast deep shadows. Palová loves brilliant orange reds, blues, greens and yellows; so that despite her often rough surfaces the aesthetic qualities inherent in glass creep into her pieces by the back door, as it were. With unusual sensitivity, the artist avoids sharp edges and purely geometrical forms by rounding off shapes and giving pierced sections a slightly asymmetrical arrangement. In this way, she makes the liquid motion of the material when hot part of the final work.
Palová's work is included in many prominent public collections, including the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York; the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava, Slovakia; Ulster Museum in Belfast, Ireland; the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, England and Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg in Coburg, Germany. Recently, Palová became the recipient of the 2008 Rakow Commission from the Corning Museum of Glass; the 2007 Cristal Wing which is the Slovak State Award for the Personality of the Year and won Third Prize at the Coburger Glas Preis 2006 in Coburg, Germany.