Chihuly at The ROM

Looking up, I saw a kaleidoscope of colours and shapes – evoking feelings of a serene, yet occult energy. Throughout the entirety of the Chihuly exhibit, I felt overwhelmed with this deep intensity that could only be aroused by such powerful art.

The current exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) features the work of Dale Chihuly, one of the most successful artists working in glass today. Since his first published works in 1975, Chihuly has established his unique footprint in the blown glass and sculpture field, despite the considerable challenges that come with creating glass forms.

The Chihully exhibit at the ROM started with Float Boat, blown glass in rowboats. Alike many of his works, this intriguing piece was inspired by real events that happened in his life. The idea came when he floated pieces of glass down a river in Finland, and teenagers retrieved them in rowboats. He was also inspired by some of his previous works, which is very dynamic in my opinion; so many artists don’t look back, simply moving forward without self-reflection.

The exhibit continued with replicas of glass gardens, continuing to engage Mother Nature with man-made material. Because glass is such a fast and responsive medium, the works emulate the organic vitality of nature itself. While many of his works seem to have a movement to them, others are more bold and dramatic. His work Jerusalem Cylinders mimics crystals stuck in smooth cylinders, similar to the stones making up the walls in Jerusalem.

Other works, which pulled from his experiences, include his Cylinder series. This series involved creating glass baskets inspired by his background in Navajo weaving. The design involved colourful threads to be laid out in an intricate design and then being fused onto the glass vessel.

Not giving away the whole exhibition, the rest of his works provoke the same energy and movement that can only be achieved with such a compelling understanding of light, form, and colour. The artist’s approach and inspiration is what I believe is the true meaning of art. To look at the world around you and create something that evokes your feelings and viewpoints of the world, while also inspiring other artists and art forms.

While I am indeed an “art person”, even the non-art lover can appreciate this exhibit. If you like nature, or if you simply like pretty colours, this exhibit will sweep you off your feet. I personally think the art of glass blowing is more accessible and can be appreciated by anyone who comes with an open mind. The art of Dale Chihuly inexplicably overtakes you. The exhibit is now extended at the ROM in Toronto until January 8th 2017.

Contributor: Alicia Churilla

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