Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chihuly's Cacaphony of Color at the VMFA

On November 10, I was delighted to be celebrating my birthday by going to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to see the exhibit of Dale Chihuly's gorgeous artwork, a chaotic tumble of glass in a cacaphony of color.

The first time I saw this show I was full of expectant delight, thrilled with anticipation about seeing the seaforms nestled inside each other, brilliantly lit against dark black surrounding them.  The lips on the forms so thin, so delicate, edging the organic shapes coming out of eachother like babes from the womb.  I'd seen themin DC years before and had held on to the visions over time, pulling htem out to wonder over and treasure like photos of my dearest babies.

There were none of those at this exhibit, sadly, but still it pulled me in, so excited I was to bask in the other offerings of beauty.  I walked into the first room - sphere upon sphere literally tumbled out of the huge row boat.  A large column dominated and bisected the space.  more riotous unencumbered color flowed out of the second boat, the forms like sea creature clawing their way playfully out of the boat, wanting to rejoin their sisters in the sea.  The colors he chose had no order, no rhyme, no reason.  I read he's one day realized he had 320 colors to choose from and decided that day to use all of them in as many combinations he could imagine.  His subtle seaforms went out the window that very day.

His paintings on the wall facing the boats are explosions of energy - paint dimensionally squirted all over the paper, colored pencils grasped 20 at a time in his hand make parallel swoops of line and color, dominated by squeeze bottle 3-D puffed paint exploding and squirting all over the page.  how can the paper take the weight?  In some he has torched the paper to mar the surface - it's easy to see the translation to the glass though these have none of the gloss and shine and translucence.  They are heavily opaque at the same time as they are frenetically energetic and explosive in ways the glass can't be because they're bound by form.

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