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Dale Chihuly

Foster White Gallery, Seattle
Aug 2, 2001 - Sept 2, 2001

Dale Chihuly, Cyprus green Chandelier (2001),

Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass-making while studying interior design at the University of Washington. His works are dense, though transparent, with referential material and surface complexity. What is interesting about Chihuly's work is his strategies about making art, his pioneering spirit and the complete involvement and dedication to his ideas. It is Chihuly's mind more than his hands that greatly manipulate his work. The work is subject to all kinds of operations that extend the boundaries, about glass-making to accept new definitions and identities. In 1997, Chihuly built a research lab for working with plastics and began the Polymar Project.

Chihuly's continuum is in forces. This artist doesn't work alone. Energizing those around him and pushing to higher levels of creativity, he throws his secrets over his shoulder as he ventures forward, like salt from a salt shaker for good luck. Chihuly says "The aspect of art that interests me is the audience." In public and private lectures Chihuly always asks his audiences, "I work in glass, polymer and ice, what is out there that has the same qualities as these three materials?" Perhaps it will be the ocean itself.

Barry Rosen of New York, a friend of Chihuly's for over 20 years, best describes Chihuly. "Dale's life is a creative process and art is an expression of that. Work provides him the expression of an idea, and in this Chihuly is absolutely courageous."

Made from sand, as common as a car windshield, in the hands of Chihuly, glass becomes outrageously original.

Chihuly's current exhibit at Savage in Portland (May 18 - June 23, Portland) includes an installation of works from the Ikebana series, which is inspired by and takes its name from the traditional art of Japanese flower arranging. This summer Chihuly will also be presenting an exhibition of work at the Foster White Gallery in Seattle. In 1987, Chihuly donated a permanent retrospective collection to the Tacoma Art Museum in honour of his brother and father who have both passed away.

© Robert Peterson