Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

When Pirates Make Arrrrt.

Written By: Tracy - Aug• 14•17

The artist wears an eye patch thanks to an auto accident. Due to his accident, he no longer works with the glass, but oversees others.

The last weekend of July, awesome hubby took me to Crystal Bridges (my local art museum) for one of their special Chihuly weekends.

Dale Chihuly (who looks a little like a pirate), is an internationally famous American glass artist. If you go into the Bellagio in Las Vegas and look at the ceiling with the glass flowers, you will have seen his work.

He was the first to make large-scale blown glass sculptures. His work reflects influences from many places he’s been, including the American Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, and Venice.

Crystal Bridges brought in two separate exhibits for patrons to take in. Chihuly in the gallery is an exhibit of indoor works. Each carefully arranged, displayed and lit. Many of the displays were cylinders, urn and vase shapes, though there was one which was created to be a department store Christmas display.

The way these vessels were arranged and lit interested me. The fact that people kept looking inside them amused me.

Many of the cylinders were fused with glass rods to mimic the shapes found in Navajo blankets. The vase shapes were allowed to slump before the glass cooled to mimic the slump of old Puebloan baskets.

I admit that I don’t always connect with art. Sometimes my way in is through historical context (go figure).

In this case, I’ve traveled to some of the same places in the southwest that the artist has gone. I enjoyed seeing the ways southwestern cultures influenced his work.

I was also tickled to stand in the corner of the room and watch as other gallery attendees would raise up on their tiptoes to see inside the vases.

The second exhibit was called Chihuly: in the Forest. Nine of his outdoor works were arranged on display around a circular walking path. Some of the sculpture on display mimics fantastical organic growth. One made me think of a giant squid swamping a boat.

I visited the second exhibition two times. Once during the day, and a second time during a special ticketed night event.

Calamari boat (not the actual title of the piece).

The experience was very different depending on what time you visit. Some of the art displays look better at night under dramatic lighting.

Overall, I ejoyed photographing the exhibit pieces most.  Taking the three dimensional and rendering it two demensional.  Changing the angle to acpture the light in interesting ways, and cropping with the camera lens.  The experience (and the result) is satisfyingly transformative.

Though the gallery exhibit, and the ticketed night time events are at an end, the outdoor exhibit will remain on display at Crystal Bridges through September.

Crystal Bridges also announced plans to buy one of the exhibits from the display for their permanent collection. Patrons can vote for their favorite on Crystal Bridges’s Facebook page (the Cthulhu boat is one of them).

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