Chihuly Garden & Glass – Pollitt’s mind-blowing experience
My writings are full of admissions – personal takes that sometimes are correct and sometimes not so much. Over the years, I had seen images of Dale Chihuly’s works, personally studied a vessel or two in someone’s home or in galleries. I appreciated the work, the color, form, textures, etc. But I didn’t “get” what the fuss was all about from this limited exposure. And then last month I visited Chihuly Garden & Glass Seattle Center!
I must now admit to a much more “enlightened” impression of Chihuly — without question or reservation an Artist, a visionary, a director. One who inspires and one that has carved an incomprehensible place in history. Seeing a vessel or two in someone’s home cannot begin to capture the essence or reality of this Maestro. When I mentally multiplied that Seattle Center exhibit by the countless other Chihuly installations around the world – Israel, Venice, Phoenix, etc. – my brain shut down contemplating the staggering body of work produced by this man and his team. Any single chandelier done by any other artist would be a life and career masterpiece and accomplishment. But the sheer tonnage of creative work at Garden & Glass is absolutely confounding. I think Dale’s mantra must be “Go big or go home.”
When I created my wood piece “Gaia,” I coined the phrase “excessive creationism.” This has to sum up the work of this man. The mind simply cannot comprehend the magnitude of the work and the genius behind it. So I humbly stand corrected in my naïve early impressions. A major Chihuly installation is a must see.
Here are a few photos to give you some sense of Chihuly Garden & Glass. It is a purpose-built showcase, room after room of breathtaking forms and color.
It starts with the Venetian ceiling – lit from above, splashing colored rays on the walls and floors – a dazzling variety of forms, colors and textures. Then there is what I refer to as the “Pond,” and the Native American Indian inspired room, the chandelier room and the giant vessel room, concluding with the greenhouse and the outdoor gardens.
Space does not permit, not to mention my inadequacy with words, a full narrative to describe or do justice to what is exhibited there. But I certainly came away with a sense of awe – humbled and inspired by this true superstar, a genius and a National Treasure. Thank you, Dale, for what you have done and continue to do; for what you have given to the world!
(My visit to Garden & Glass was part of five glorious September days in Seattle/Tacoma with Gaye. Read about the special reception at Traver Gallery where my work was featured, our first-ever trip to Pilchuck, and about a heart-warming fund raiser hosted at Chihuly’s Boathouse. I’ll also soon write about The Red Hot, a fabulous fund raiser staged by MOG, Museum of Glass Tacoma, that we attended. First I have to find my photos! Don’t ask.)