C H I H U LY
Schantz Galleries CONTEMPORARY 2019
The Spirit of Color
he history of color theory traces back to On Sense and Sensible Objects, in which Aristotle described a seven-color progression connecting black and white, and related color to the four elements (white for water, air, and earth, and yellow for fire). Leonardo da Vinci published a less linear model and proposed different attributions, assigning yellow to earth, green to water, blue to air, and red to fire. In the 17th century, Sir Isaac Newton was the first to understand the rainbow, projecting its seven spectral colors through a prism near his window. His finding that color was entirely a refraction of white light fascinated artists at the time. Centuries later, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe asserted that color is more than a mere objective measurement, it is a subjective experience which can inspire physiological and psychological reactions. Color, as interpreted by artists of the modern era, eclipses the realm of science and enters the milieu of aesthetics, sensation, and intuition. Matisse wrote that “color helps express light, not the physical phenomenon, but the only light that really exists, that in the artist’s brain.” Picasso asked: “Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this?” Yves Klein famously endeavored to formulate an ultramarine blue that would rival his experience of a cloudless sky, not because he particularly loved blue but because he was chasing the experience he associated with the color.
COVER: Golden Celadon Basket Set with Drawing Shards 2018 12 x 21 x 20" (detail left) 1
Few contemporary artists delight in the potential of color, push the boundaries of its established rules, or harness its emotional capacity like Dale Chihuly. With over 300 different hues of raw color in his hotshop in Seattle, Chihuly possesses “a never-ending palette of colors.” Of the seven fundamental elements of art—line, shape, form, space, value, texture, and color—color is a potent guiding force for Chihuly. He is known for mastering, challenging, and modernizing traditional glassmaking techniques, for embracing the elemental qualities and inherent unpredictability of molten glass, for experimenting and stretching the acknowledged limits of the material. He is known for gathering influences from his world travels and incorporating them in visceral and unexpected ways, resulting in vital and dynamic works of art that connect people with their own intuitive experience of life. Within all this, a fascination with color permeates every aspect of the work down to the color-themed titles of his pieces. In the vernacular of Dale Chihuly, red is oxblood, lilac is dusty, and green is golden celadon. The breadth of colors is inspired by myriad elements, from geologic to geographic, historical to metaphorical. The organic beauty of Native American baskets is re-imagined in Chihuly’s pioneering Basket sets, undulating vessels of varying thicknesses and shapes nestled gracefully together. Burnt Umber Basket with Charcoal Lip (1980), Oxblood Spotted Basket Set (1989), and Tabac Basket Grouping with Drawing Shards and Oxblood Body Wraps (2008) conjure in glass the earthy pigmentation characteristic of the Native baskets that inspired them. Chihuly eschews simple labels (no “brown” or “red” here) in lieu of designations that better illuminate the range of hues on display in the pieces. The fiery Garnet Flame Basket with Drawing Shard (2018), seethes with variations of red reminiscent of the gemstone for which it is named (this work is a product of a very special blow honoring the 40th Anniversary of the Basket series), (detail right). Golden Celadon Basket Set with Drawing Shards (2018) reverberates with aquatic tones, while contrasting shards and a bold dark lip confer even more energy to this dynamically-shaped set.
Chihuly’s Persian sets resemble the assemblage of the Baskets, but with increased asymmetry and a whirling eddy of shapes and edges. While Chihuly has said that the Persians “started as a search for form,” color is the ingredient that amplifies the formal nuances and intensifies the emotional impact. Mineral Yellow Persian Set with Cobalt Lip Wraps (2016) hums as the striations of deep yellow and vibrant green dissipate across the petal-like surfaces, each form rimmed in, and differentiated by, a contrasting cobalt border. Saxon Blue Persian Set with Flame Lip Wraps (2016) is a symphony of a single color, created when rows of differing blues stretch and twirl around the varying shapes and thicknesses of glass, culminating in striking bands of red,(detail left).
If the Persians are a search for form heightened by color, the Macchia are celebrations of color enhanced by form. Chihuly set out to utilize all the hundreds of raw colors in his studio, in often riotous and seemingly discordant alliances, thus proving Picasso’s belief that one cannot always explain the magic of certain colors working together. Each Macchia (Italian for “spotted”) is created using a specially developed layering technique that prevents interior and exterior colors from mingling. The outer layer is then fused with colored glass chips (technically called frit and described as “jimmies” by Chihuly), resulting in spontaneous-feeling surface spotting that pulls and spreads across the rolling forms. The shimmering pinks inside Lotus Pink Pheasant Macchia Set with Blue Water Lip Wraps (2018) emerge in contrast to its intense and lively green exterior, the blue lip a hint at the flower’s watery abode. Tourmaline Pink Macchia Set with Orange Lip (1983) mimics the rare color combination of this semi-precious stone, proving that nature reveals harmonious color combinations in a way that the formal color wheel never will.
Color does not have to be audacious to be impactful; color can be quiet and contemplative. Slate Gray Macchia Set (1983) softly unveils the subtle blend of colors—from blues and pinks, to reds and browns—that are inherent in stone. Dusty Green Seaform Set with Orange Stripes (1980) soothes in its gentle mingling of pale and translucent glass stripes, (detail right). The delicate and thin forms of Iris Amber Basket Set with Drawing Shard (2017) and Golden Celadon Basket with Drawing Shard (2017) are layered with a subdued array of spring colors—sky blues, verdant greens, the browns of earth coming back to life, the golden tones of a strengthening sun. Organic colors thrive, if slightly amplified, in the Ikebana series inspired by the Japanese art of flower arranging. Descriptors such as “gilded carmine,” “citron,” and “silvered purple” evoke the pageant of colors that nature provides, as these glass sculptures honor the meditative simplicity of the natural world that defines the Ikebana tradition. The Rotolo works are a study in light emanating from complex forms; light filters through the corkscrew form, the blue glass brightening where the form stretches thinly and deepening when the coil doubles back on itself. Chihuly has said that the “Rotolo rekindled my excitement for working with clear glass. I was really amazed by the complexity and brilliance of the form, which started from a simple coil.” In Rotolo 88, cerulean tendrils whirl like coral in a tropical seascape, seeming to soar effortlessly even though these are some of the most technically challenging artworks to create. The buoyancy of the finished sculpture belies the incredible weight of the piece (88lbs, as indicated in the title) and the time, talent, and teamwork required to execute it.
To an artist so intoxicated by the capacity of color, the question of medium becomes more fluid. While early on Chihuly’s drawings were used as conceptual experiments, they have more recently become a unique body of work that references the development of his series in glass. A sense of unfiltered immediacy permeates these works, of color applied to paper with intuitive and unrestrained joy. These are concentrated colors—sultry reds, neon greens, cerulean blues, hot pinks—that infuse the surface with such boundless energy the confines of the paper struggle to contain them. In 2017, Chihuly premiered his Glass on Glass paintings, the result of a groundbreaking approach to the multidimensional experience of glass. Vitreous glass enamel paints are fired on individual glass sheets which are layered together to visually coalesce, combining the directness of his works on paper with the luminosity of his works in glass. Expressive forms in incandescent colors impart a dynamic dimensionality that is further enhanced by the passage of light as the eyes shift around each composition. Dale Chihuly once said, “I never met a color I didn’t like.” His body of work— feats of glass and light, yes—are an homage to the artist’s abiding affection for color. To the four elements of Western culture, the Greeks added a fifth, the Spirit. Chihuly’s artwork captures the panoply of colors witnessed in Earth, Air, Fire, and Water but it also relishes in the unique way that color speaks to the Spirit.
Jeanne Koles is an independent museum professional with a focus on cultural communications.
Ikebana Glass on Glass Painting 2017 42 x 32 x 37" (details previous page)
"Rotolo rekindled my excitement for working the clear glass. I was really amazed by the complexity and brilliance of form, which started from a simple coil." â€”Dale Chihuly
Rotolo 88 2018 42 x 21 x 16" (details following pages)
Blue Waters Persian Wall 2019 45 x 94 x 15" (details following pages)
Golden Ice Chandelier 2019 45 x 55 x 50" (details following pages)
Beryl, Blue and Opaline Chandelier 2019 93 x 60 x 57" (detail following pages)
Copper Ruby Persian Wall Sconce 2019 61 x 85 x 14" (detail following pages)
Tabac Basket Grouping witih Drawing Shards and Oxblood Body Wraps 2008 8 x 9 x 8"; 8 x 9 x 8"; 6 x 15 x1 2" (details following pages)
Golden Celadon Basket Set with Drawing Shard 2017 12 x 11 x 10"
Iris Amber Basket Set with Drawing Shard 2017 18 x 15 x 17"
Garnet Flame Basket with Drawing Shard 2018 13 x 12 x 11" (detail page 3)
Garnet Flame Basket with Drawing Shard 2018 15 x 11 x 11"
Garnet Flame Basket Set 2018 17 x 19 x 17" (detail following pages)
Oxblood Spotted Basket Set 1989 6 x 19 x 19" (detail following pages)
"It took a couple years of blowing the Baskets before I understood how the glass moved. And just how far you could push it with centrifugal force and stretch it to its limits. It was about this time we started using [optic] molds in order to blow the forms thinner and ensure greater strength from the ribbing. Gradually they looked less like Baskets and more as if they came from the sea." â€”Dale Chihuly
Burnt Umber Basket Set with Charcoal Lip 1980 4 x 13 x 13"
Dusty Green Seaform Set with Orange Stripes 1980 5 x 13 x 12" (detail page 7)
Lavendar Mist Seaform Set with Yellow Ochre Lip Wraps 2014 10 x 17 x 9"
Lotus Pink Pheasant Macchia Set with Blue Water Lip Wraps 2002 10 x 14 x 13" (detail following pages)
Chartreuse Macchia Set with Lavendar Lip Wraps 1998 10 x 17 x 15" (detail following pages)
Tourmaline Pink Macchia Set with Orange Lip Wraps 1983 7 x 13 x 10"
"I remember that if one was looking at a stained glass window . . . the window usually didn't look as colorful when there was a bright blue sky in the background as it did when it was foggy. It's the white of the fog, like a light table, that allows you to see the true colors. I experimented with putting a layer of "white clouds' over the color I was blowing. This became the important technique of the Macchia." â€”Dale Chihuly
Slate Gray Macchia Set 1983 5 x 15 x 14"
Seaform Green Macchia Set 1981 7 x 13 x 11"
Saxon Blue Persian Set with Flame Lip Wraps 2016 10 x 22 x 16" (detail page 4)
Mineral Yellow Persian Set with Cobalt Lip Wraps 2016 10 x 22 x 19" (detail following pages)
"We worked for maybe a year, doing only experimental Persians. So, I got to pick and choose from the parts to develop a new series. I very often push a series to its maximum size. I think sometimes I do it to keep the glass blowers at the very edge of their technical ability. To make it exciting." â€”Dale Chihuly
Dusty Lilac and Sherbert Persian Set with Scarlet Lip Wraps 1998 10 x 23 x 14"
Roman Umber Persian Set with Carmine and Ebony Lip Wraps 1989 10 x 22 x 20" (details following pages)
Gilded Carmine Ikebana with Stem and Citron Leaf 2018 39 x 24 x 15" (detail following pages)
Silvered Purple Ikebana with Gilded Stems 2012 41 x 36 x 15"
Charcoal Ikebana Drawing 2008 30 x 22"
Basket Drawing 2001 30 x 22"
Float Drawing 1992 42 x 30"
Venetian Drawing 1992 30 x 22"
Float Drawing 2015 42 x 30"
Basket Set Drawing 2009 30 x 22"
Float and Reed Drawing 2008 30 x 22"
Vivid Lime Ikebana Drawing 2008 42 x 30"
Chihuly A Creator of Community. We are grateful to Dale Chihuly for the work he has created for five decades. A leader in the studio glass movement, his energy and vision have helped redefine the medium of glass. Through his exploration and constant commitment, he has helped bring the medium into the realm of contemporary art. Chihuly’s success as an artist has grown out of his sense of community, collaboration, and communication. This began with the European glassblowers he met in 1968 as a Fulbright Fellow, whose team approach formed a great sense of community. Chihuly applied this understanding to teaching at RISD, to his own glassblowing teams, and to the founding of the Pilchuck Glass School in 1971. This spirit of community has spawned generations of artists and the growth of the glass movement in Seattle and beyond. While building this community, Chihuly has pushed the boundaries of glass as a sculptural medium. As a teacher, Chihuly shared his passion and technique with students, guiding them through the process of making art and challenging them to experiment. These qualities of experimentation and sharing have become a hallmark of the glass community. Chihuly has contributed a great deal to the development of the Puget Sound region’s glass scene. His efforts with the Museum of Glass in Tacoma have helped to spark an artistic and economic revival in his hometown. In 1994, Chihuly and long-time colleagues Kathy Kaperick and Charlie Parriott founded Hilltop Artists, a glass program in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood. They converted a former industrial arts classroom at a local middle school into a glassblowing studio. By providing glass art instruction, the Hilltop program reaches out to young people at risk of dropping out of school, instilling in them the importance of individual responsibility and teamwork—skills and attitudes that help improve their lives. Pilchuck Glass School, which Chihuly founded with John and Ann Gould Hauberg, began as a summer glassblowing workshop and has grown into an international program. This was fostered by Chihuly’s belief that working as a community and team encourages mutual respect. Each year, Dale Chihuly and his glassblowing team conduct a special glassblowing session at the school to help support its programs. To mark the 40th anniversary of this tradition in 2017 and 2018, the team created a special series of 40th Anniversary Baskets including Garnet Flame Baskets (see pages 40-47).
“You don't paint the way someone, by observing your life, thinks you have to paint. You paint the way you have to in order to give, and someone will look and say it is the product of knowing, but it has nothing to do with knowing, it has to do with giving.” -Dale Chihuly
Pilchuck Glass School, which Chihuly founded with John and Ann Gould Hauberg, began as a summer glassblowing workshop and has grown into an international program. This was fostered by Chihuly’s belief that working as a community and team encourages mutual respect. Each year, Dale Chihuly and his glassblowing team conduct a special glassblowing session at the school to help support its programs. To mark the 40th anniversary of this tradition in 2017 and 2018, the team created a special series of 40th Anniversary Baskets including Garnet Flame Baskets (see pages 40-47). Today, along with Leslie Jackson Chihuly—his partner and the President/CEO of Chihuly Studio—Dale Chihuly continues his commitment to community through creative programs supported by Chihuly Studio. Additionally, The Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation was founded in 2009 with the mission to inspire and educate the public regarding all forms of art, and to provide support to artists and arts organizations. We are very proud to represent Dale Chihuly and to present this feature exhibition of his work at our gallery this summer. This exhibition is a testament to the legacy he has created through the love of his work and community. Thank you, Dale. Jim Schantz and Kim Saul
Dale Chihuly Benjamin Moore Studio Seattle, 1990
orn in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin. He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for more than a decade.
In 1968, after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice. There he observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971, Chihuly cofounded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art. His work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including twelve honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Chihuly has created more than a dozen well-known series of works, among them, Cylinders and Baskets in the 1970s; Seaforms, Macchia, Persians, and Venetians in the 1980s; Niijima Floats and Chandeliers in the 1990s; Fiori in the 2000s. He is also celebrated for large architectural installations. In 1986, he was honored with a solo exhibition, Dale Chihuly: objets de verre, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, Paris. In 1995, he began Chihuly Over Venice, for which he created sculptures at glass factories in Finland, Ireland, and Mexico, then installed them over the canals and piazzas of Venice. In 1999, Chihuly started an ambitious exhibition, Chihuly in the LIght of Jerusalem; more than 1 million visitors attended the Tower of David Museum to view his installations. In 2001, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London curated the exhibit Chihuly at the V&A. Chihuly’s lifelong fascination or glasshouses has grown into a series of exhibitions within botanical settings. His Garden Cycle began in 2001 at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. Chihuly exhibited at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, near London, in 2005. Other major exhibition venues include the de Young Museum in San Fransico in 2008; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2011; and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in 2013. Chihuly Garden and Glass, a longterm exhibition, opened at Seattle Center in 2012.
Schantz Galleries CONTEMPORARY
SPECIAL THANKS TO DALE, LESLIE AND THE ENTIRE CHIHULY TEAM PHOTOGRAPHY: All artwork image are © Chihuly Studio DESIGN: Jeanne Koles and Kim Saul © SCHANTZ GALLERIES, 2019 3 Elm Street, Stockbridge, MA 01262 (413) 298-3044 www.schantzgalleries.com
Schantz Galleries CONTEMPORARY
We are grateful to Dale Chihuly for the work he has created for five decades. A leader in the studio glass movement, his energy and vision h...
Published on Jul 17, 2019
We are grateful to Dale Chihuly for the work he has created for five decades. A leader in the studio glass movement, his energy and vision h...