Thursday, September 06, 2007

Chihuly at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh

We've been fans of Dale Chihuly's works for a number of years. We've admired his chandeliers at casinos and other random places. We've seen small pieces at various art shows and shops. The innate need to possess beauty and grace grips us, and we vow we will buy one. Yes, what the heck! Let's do it! Then we notice the price tag and we just step away..very..very..carefully.. (don't break it or we'll have to buy it!).

Addendum: Check out's section on Dale Chihuly's work and find the next shows.

I watched a documentary on his work in Venice once and was amazed by the effort involved. He has a team of artisans and glassblowers, working with fire and tools. They use the simple time-tested tools, but the styles definitely beckon a new age. The program noted that it takes two glassblowers to make each of the elongated glass "reeds" with one person holding while the other stretches and shapes. I couldn't even begin to count how many of these dotted the exhibition.

We went to Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh where a Chihuly exhibit was integrated into the botanical gardens. Walking into every room was a delight -- there was a flash of color, vibrancy and life that went beyond the natural beauty, but at the same time it seemed part of it.

I mentioned to our friends that the artwork is making this a delightful tour because you never know what you'd find in the next room. One of my friend felt the opposite - more affinity toward the plants and trees. I decided I probably felt more excitement for the art because I have been to Longwood Gardens in PA a few times and found it more impressive.

Check out this "lotus" chandelier and the glass flowers blooming in the pond.

This was stunning -- a canoe filled with glass balls. The positioning of this under the skylight was breathtaking. The glass balls appear to float.

This is called the Fiori Sun and was set in the butterfly room. The line leading up to this piece was long and slow. We thought people were watching the butterflies, and then we saw this after the bend. After this piece, the line just disappeared! This design is what most of his chandeliers look like - wild flames of light.

This was in the Thailand Room, and I loved it for the integration of glass into the natural decor. Why shouldn't there be cobalt blue plants?

We had walked through a Desert, a Japanese Garden and an English Room. Then I walked into the East Room, I felt wonderful. I felt as if I could just sit here and relax. The colors were soothing.. the water was trickling to its own gentle rhythm.. the sunlight was hitting everything just perfectly. I don't know what it is, but I was quite surprised.

These are just a few of the pictures we took, but check out the main website for Phipps Exhibit to see more crazy sculptures.


Radhika Shivaraman said...

When we used to live in Pitt, we always took guests to Phipps. Pitt is actually a neat place cuz its not so big or cuz we were right in the main area, that we could almost attend all the art fairs during summer and hit most exhibits cuz all the major buildings/points are close to each other. A cultural town + we were able to attend all carnatic concerts for free at the everrich Balaji temple. We definitely miss all the perks of living in Pittsburgh.

Anonymous said...

We went to the temple too! It was quite packed that day, which was surprising.

We weren't exactly sure how to get there. So, we got off the exit and didn't know where to go. We were stopped at the traffic light, we noticed there desis in the van next to us. We rolled down the window and shouted "Temple? Where's the temple?" The man gave us exact directions :-)

Anonymous said...

loved the pics - makes me want to go myself.