The word Chihuly in the title refers to Dale Chihuly, an American artist who has been working in glass since the mid 1960’s. At the moment there is a special exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) of some of the sculptural work produced by him and his team.
I’ve now wandered through this exhibit three times. The first time, I found it a bit overwhelming and I wasn’t sure how to photograph it. The second time I went I just looked. Yesterday I went back with my camera and tried again. I’m reasonably happy with the photos but I know that I have only captured a small part of the art. Perhaps it is enough to enable you to imagine more of it, or to refresh your memory if you have already seen the exhibit.
below: Admirers looking at “Persian Ceiling”, 2012 . Large cushions were provided for those who wanted to lie down to get a view of the ceiling in its entirety. Of course, looking at the sections up close was also fascinating. All the different shapes and colours overlap and produce new colours and textures.
below: Section of the “Persian Ceiling” installation.
The round slight scalloped glass shapes that look a bit like flowers are called Persians. At least that’s the name that Chihuly has given them as described in this quote that appears on the wall just outside the room. “I just liked the name Persians. It conjured up sort of Near-Eastern, Byzantine, Far East, Venice, all the trades, smells, sense… I don’t know, it was an exotic name to me, so I just called them Persians.”
below: A ray swims amongst the waves of colour.
below: “Red Reeds”. I thought of candles when I first saw this piece, red candles in a birch bark candle holder. Then the young girl standing beside me announced that it was a campfire and I changed my mind. I think she’s right. Marshmallows anyone?
The red tubes are hollow glass. Metal rods have been inserted into the birch logs and the glass tubes sit over these rods. You can see the darker sections at the bottom of the tubes where the metal rods are.
below: “Blue and Purple Boat, 2006”. Back in 1995 Chihuly floated some glass pieces on a river in Finland. Local teenagers collected the pieces in their wooden boats and this provided the inspiration for a number of installations featuring glass in boats. This is one of two on display at the ROM. It is on a reflective surface, like a calm river.
below: “Sapphire Neon Tumbleweeds” constructed from factory made neon tubes that have been heated and bent into organic shapes. The lighting is magenta in real life but blue in my photos.
below: The next few photos are of a large and elaborate installation called “Laguna Torcello”, named after a lagoon island in Venice. It is a garden of fantasy in glass. Parts seem to be aquatic, growing under water.
As an aside, I suspect that the logistics and cost of transporting and installing these pieces is not minor. Like the red tubes above, this garden is made of hollow glass pieces that are arranged on, and supported by, rods. The whole thing sits on a flat, dark, and reflective surface which adds another dimension to the artwork.
The exhibit continues until the end of 2016.