Dale Chihuly is a sculptor known for his innovations in many media such as paint, plastics, and neon light. But he is mostly recognized for his work in glass.
This past summer, Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, AR featured some of Chihuly’s new glass creations as well as many of his most well-known styles.
The WES faculty toured the Chihuly exhibits during July.
The Crystal Bridges Chihuly exhibit featured both an indoor and an outdoor gallery. Special lighting and backdrops showcased the glass pieces in the indoor exhibit. This exhibit ended on August 14th.
Several large Chihuly glass sculptures were set along a nature trail next to the Crystal Bridges Museum. These “installation art” sculptures and their natural settings were designed to enhance each other. Installation art is large-scale art designed to fit temporarily in a particular place. The outdoor Chihuly exhibit will be there until November 13th.
Our Artwork of the Week features pieces from Chihuly's Calendula Persians series which were part of the Crystal Bridges exhibit.
TUESDAY - Chihuly studied about the art of glass in college and design school and by working at a Venetian glass factory. While in Venice, he learned about the team method of producing and blowing glass. The team approach became an important part of the way Chihuly produces his glass works.
This video shows some of Chihuly’s team members at work and how he directs them.
Since the 1970’s, Chihuly has created several different series of glass works. One of his earliest series was Cylinders. Chihuly decorates his cylinders with colorful threads of glass. The glass threads are fused onto the cylinder while it’s molten. The glass-thread cylinders are inspired by Native American blankets and fabrics.
Chihuly’s Baskets series was also inspired by Native American crafts. His glass baskets attempt to capture the grace of the sagging forms of the woven baskets. Heat and gravity help Chihuly produce the slumped basket forms.
Chihuly said the name “Persian” made him think of exotic places with all the history, trades, smells and senses of the Near and Far East.
Our Artwork of the Week is part of the Persians series.
Chihuly has created many vases which are influenced by glass vases he saw in Venice. His Venetian series vases are bolder and brighter and not as symmetrical.
Chihuly’s Rotolo series uses clear glass and starts from a simple coil.
The Chihuly exhibits have been so popular at the Crystal Bridges Museum that the museum is planning to purchase and keep one of the glass artworks permanently. The Museum is allowing museum visitors to vote online for their favorite among four of the Chihuly pieces.
One of the choices is the Niijima Floats. The glass globes provide a colorful accent to the pond beside the Crystal Bridges Museum.
Another glasswork that is being considered is the Azure Icicle Chandelier. This artwork was designed by Chihuly just for this spot in the Crystal Bridges Museum.
The Fiori Boat is a third option for visitors to vote for the museum to keep. The boat and its glass creations is brightly colored and fun.
The fourth choice for the public to vote for is Chihuly’s Sole d’Oro. This glass sculpture represents the sun and is made of 1,300 hand-blown pieces of glass. It weighs over 5,000 pounds.
Through Chihuly’s innovations with glass, he has changed the way glass is viewed as a fine art medium. His work is included in more than 200 museums and has been set up in locations around the globe as installation art.
Chihuly cofounded the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. The location, the climate, and the rustic environment are ideal for teaching and creating art with glass.
This art installation, Winter Brilliance, was first created for Barney’s flagship store in New York City during the Christmas holidays. This large display of glass sculptures features colored lights that are synchronized to music. Winter Brilliance was part of the Crystal Bridges Chihuly exhibit. (click on the photo above. When the website opens, scroll down to the 3rd row and show the video: Barneys NY Holiday 2015 | Winter Brilliance)
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