Saturday, June 9, 2012

Impression: Chihuly - by Justin

Over the last two years, I have been a part of the Jasper Humanities program, a joint taught class covering both English and World History course material. One of the unique things about Humanities is that, because it’s a two year class, we have time to further delve into the arts and literature, the class’s namesake. The class truly opened my eyes to the world of art and culture. In addition to simply learning about art, the Humanities program has increased my awareness of local art exhibits. That’s how we learned about the Chihuly glass sculpture exhibit.

Last Saturday, I went with my family to see Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures at the Dallas Arboretum. Dale Chihuly is an American sculptor known for his innovative uses of glass to shape and form fantastic glass sculptures. In some cases, he even mixes uranium with the glass to give it a glow and shine. From completely round spheres to curled horns and shafts of glass, Chihuly uses tens to hundreds of pieces of glass in each of his pieces. The organic arrangement of Chihuly’s sculptures among the various plant species at the arboretum provided a truly exceptional “art gallery” to walk around in the arboretum.

There were over 20 pieces of Chihuly’s artwork creatively placed around the gardens, some placed in pools, others mounted in the air, while more were set in the flowers and shrubs, extending up and outwards. All of his works were breath-taking and awe-inspiring, from his 1800 piece, 32 feet tall Yellow Icicle Tower to the uranium mixed Mirrored Hornets and the glowing blue and white Dallas Star. Even his most austere and simplistic pieces, reeds of various colored glass, were set in such a backdrop that they too proved to be quite aesthetically pleasing.

My favorite piece at the exhibit was the Niijima Floats, set in one of the pools in the arboretum. The piece itself is fairly simplistic, with assorted glass shapes mounted in floats resembling those of Japanese fisherman. The simple glass spheres and elongated pieces of glass are arranged creatively in the boats, with some spheres floating in the water around the boats. The genius of this piece at the arboretum, I think, is in its location. Set in an infinity pool like location in the arboretum, the boats look strikingly beautiful with a rippled reflection, and when seen from ground level, provide a truly picture perfect scene, which is easier shown than explained.

The Chihuly art exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum is open until November 5th, so there’s still time to go and see these marvelous pieces of art!

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