There are few contemporary artists whose name is as synonymous with the medium in which he works as Dale Chihuly, who is widely regarded as the most innovative glass artist working today. Active since the 1960s, Chihuly is credited with almost single handedly elevating the postwar American studio glass movement to the international prominence it now enjoys.
During an eight-month exhibition in the Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Upper-Level Galleries, the unsurpassed mastery of the artist and his Seattle glass-studio collaborators will be on view in nine installations drawn from some of Chihulys most acclaimed series. Chihuly at the Frist opened to the public yesterday and remain on view through Jan. 2, 2011.
We are delighted to present the work of Dale Chihuly, whose international stature and acclaim stem from the boldness with which he honors ancient glassmaking traditions while exploding them into configurations of pure color, transformed space, and exuberant natural form. Chihuly has bridged the divides that separate craft from fine art, populist appeal from artistic rigor, and visual pleasure from the expression of human meaning, said Frist Center Executive Director Susan H. Edwards, Ph.D.
For this exhibition at the Frist Center, Chihuly and his artisan assistants are presenting new works and works drawn from his most important series of the past three decades in an installation designed specifically for the Frist Centers galleries. Among the featured series are Venetians, a brilliantly colored and intricately formed group of works that was inspired in 1988 by a famed Italian glass master; Ikebana, which was informed by the Japanese art of flower arranging; Persians, conjuring the exotic and enchanted lands of the Far East; Macchia, borne of Chihulys desire to use hundreds of colors in rippling forms based on vases created in the famed Venini glass factory in Venice; and Seaforms, which celebrates the waving and rippling shapes and rhythms of underwater life. In addition, the exhibition will include a spectacular Mille Fiori (a thousand flowers) garden and the Sea Blue and Green Tower, a mammoth sculpture that masses colorful, curving forms in a large-scale work that rises nearly ten feet tall and occupies an entire gallery.
Also on exhibition will be a wall of Chihulys drawings that serve as independent works of art and blueprints to communicate and inspire his glassblowers to bring his designs to life and to improvise on the themes he has created.
The acclaimed documentary Chihuly in the Hotshop will be on continuous view in the Upper-Level Galleries throughout the exhibition. Directed by Peter West, the film follows the artist in 2006, as he worked in the Museum of Glasss hotshop in Tacoma, Wash., an amphitheatre designed specifically to allow the public to view artists at work. The film received its premiere at the 2008 Palm Springs International Film Festival.