May at Traver Gallery - Tacoma
Dale Chihuly: Baskets, Cylinders and Drawings
Exhibition Runs: May 10 - June 8, 2008
Reception with the artist: Saturday, May 17, 5 - 8 pm
With refreshments, and live music by "young Johnny Cash" Vince Mira from 5:30 - 8 pm
|Dale Chihuly: Baskets, Cylinders and Drawings |
The Traver Gallery in Tacoma is honored to present Baskets, Cylinders and Drawings, a solo exhibition featuring new work by renowned artist Dale Chihuly. The fluid forms, intricate designs and unexpected textures of Chihuly's new Baskets and Cylinders invite continuing contemplation, while his new drawings are marked with striking, expressive lines executed in a range of rich metallic paints. These luscious, opulent hues and the subtle, exacting use of color connect the drawings to the works in glass, creating a thread of contemporary sophistication that runs throughout this earthy body of work.
In the summer of 2006 at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Dale Chihuly was united with eleven of the original head glassblowers, or gaffers, with whom he created thirteen of his greatest earlier series. The week-long event was more than a reunion; it brought together a group of artists whose skill levels and artistic sensibilities had grown throughout the years allowing them to revisit and reinterpret Chihuly's sculptural achievements with a greater level of maturity.*
The sense of excitement generated by the Museum of Glass project inspired Chihuly to continue his exploration of earlier series. The Baskets and Cylinders presented in this exhibition are the fruit of this continued investigation, while the drawings represent the most recent developments in his ongoing exploration of color and form in two dimensions.
The new Black Cylinders are a variant on Chihuly's first series, the Cylinders, which was begun in 1974. Conceived of by Chihuly and early Pilchuck collaborators James Carpenter and Italo Scanga as a way to draw on glass, the Cylinders are characterized by delicate, thin pieces of glass which are combined to create patterns, or "pick-up" drawings. This kind of drawing was an important technical breakthrough for American Studio Glass - never before had such exact drawings and images been applied to hot glass in this way. The designs on the new Black Cylinders pop against their dark backgrounds, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of how color can be used in glass.
The original Basket series was begun in 1977, after the artist saw a display of Salish woven, cedar bark baskets at the Washington State Historical Society in Tacoma. In order to approximate the casual look of the Northwest Coast Native American models stacked within one another and sagging under their own weight, Chihuly abandoned the symmetrical perfection of the Italian glass tradition in favor of a deliberately off-kilter look in each vessel. The new baskets are increasingly thin, incorporating "pick-up" drawings from the Cylinders, and presenting more innovative solutions to the nested and stacked compositions.
Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin. He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for over a decade.
In 1968, Chihuly was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to work at the Venini factory in Venice, Italy. While in Venice, Chihuly observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971, Chihuly cofounded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art.
His work is included in over two hundred museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including eight honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Chihuly has created many well-known series of works, among them the Baskets, Persians, and Seaforms, but he is also celebrated for large architectural installations. In 1995, he embarked on the international project, Chihuly Over Venice, which involved working in glass factories in Finland, Ireland, and Mexico, with the resultant sculptures installed over the canals and piazze of Venice.
In 1999, Chihuly mounted his most ambitious installation to date, Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem; more than one million visitors attended the Tower of David Museum to view his installations. In 2001, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London curated the exhibition Chihuly at the V&A. The Chihuly Bridge of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, was dedicated in 2002. Chihuly's lifelong affinity for glasshouses has grown into a series of exhibitions within botanical settings. His garden exhibition was first presented in 2001 at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. In 2005, Chihuly exhibited at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, near London, and at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida in both 2006 and 2007. An exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco will open in June of 2008, and will be his most ambitious exhibition to date.
*The information in this and the following paragraphs is drawn from the book and DVD Chihuly in the Hotshop (Portland Press, 2007).
|Located on the Tacoma's Thea Foss Waterway adjacent to the Museum of Glass, the Traver Gallery is among the country's premier exhibition spaces for contemporary studio glass, painting, sculpture, and installation art. Gallery hours are Tuesday 9 - 5, Wednesday - Saturday 10 - 6 and Sunday 12 - 5. For more information, please call (253) 383-3685 or visit our website at www.travergallery.com. |
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