Dale Chihuly's glass of inspiration never half empty

Fri Apr 8, 2011 9:13am EDT
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By Ros Krasny

BOSTON (Reuters) - Glass artist Dale Chihuly says his well of inspiration never runs dry, even after some 40 years pushing the boundaries of his medium.

"Just working with the material brings forth a lot of ideas, in both the glass blowing and in working with the glass after it's been blown," Chihuly, 69, said on the sidelines of his major new exhibit at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

"Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass," 12 installations that live up to their Alice in Wonderland billing, opens on April 10 and will run through August in the recently opened Art of the Americas wing.

The exhibit features a mix of new and early works from Chihuly, perhaps the foremost artist now working in glass and, with his distinctive curly hair and eye patch, certainly the most recognizable.

The installations contain some 7,000 individual pieces, including Mille Fiori (Italian for "a thousand flowers"), a 58-foot-long (17-meter) installation displayed in a darkened room.

Neodymium Reeds on Logs is a series of tall, purple glass rods set against freshly-cut Maine birch, while Persian Ceiling evokes a madly colored seascape.

The 42-foot-tall Lime Green Icicle Tower, installed in a high-ceilinged courtyard, weighs some 10,000 pounds (4,545 kgs) and comprises over 2,300 individual pieces of glass.

"I tend to do things on a huge scale because it's exciting. I like to push things in new and different ways," Chihuly said. "My philosophy is: when one is good, a dozen is better."   Continued...

<p>Dale Chihuly&rsquo;s Neodymium Reeds (2008) features long glass rods displayed with freshly-cut Maine birch logs, and is part of a new retrospective at Boston&rsquo;s Museum of Fine Arts is seen in an undated handout photo. REUTERS/Chihuly Studio/Boston MFA/Handout</p>