Dale Chihuly: Another Realm

August 21, 2018 - November 25, 2018

Dale Chihuly’s work has been a collecting benchmark for collectors and museums for decades. He’s considered a pioneer in blown glass, as he takes this delicate material and thrusts it into the realm of large-scale sculpture. Throughout his prestigious career, Chihuly has collaborated with glassmakers from around the world, creating blockbuster installations from Las Vegas to Venice.

What you’ll see at FWMoA with this exhibition are 6 of its 8 sculptures by Dale Chihuly, now in the permanent collection at FWMoA. Hanging in the atrium is Lily Gold Chandelier—a lively sculpture of over 120 individual tendrils that shimmer with real gold flakes. At eye level, we show work from his Macchia, Persian, and Sea-form series, whose bold colors excite the eye and accentuate their amorphous forms.

About Dale Chihuly:
As a trailblazer in contemporary studio glass, Chihuly prides himself in creating works unlike any other artist. While he received traditional blown glass training at the Rhode Island School of Design and with the Venini family in Venice, Chihuly’s style is an undeniable departure from tradition. For centuries, blown glass was prized for its symmetry and perfection, but Chihuly often rejects these ideals. Inspired by nature, architecture and the irregularity of the interaction between light and space, Chihuly has pioneered a new way of working with blown glass. Taking advantage of gravity and centrifugal force, Chihuly allows molten glass to find its shape through organic means: the glassblower or gaffer let glass settle after creating initial forms, vessels are turned slowly to allow irregular twists and folds, and shapes are swung from the ends of their pipes. This process is achieved by a large production team, an artistic strategy that has also made it possible for Chihuly to be so prolific.

Chihuly was first exposed to production-style glass making while visiting Venice in 1968 on a Fulbright scholarship. Seeing how each artisan created a single part of the whole, Chihuly realized that this method of creation could be applied to large-scale artistic endeavors. However, he didn’t fully adopt this method until an automobile accident in 1976, which resulted in the loss of sight in his left eye and diminished depth perception. He no longer felt safe blowing glass himself and assumed the role of orchestrator, allowing him to direct all creative energy into designing. This development has allowed Chihuly’s work to reach new heights: his pieces range from small vessels to towering outdoor installations. He toes the line between glass’s innate fragility and the soaring strength of architecture, forever pushing his chosen medium into new realms of possibility.