Dale Chihuly is an American sculptor who does amazing and beautiful works in colored glass.
His works range from small pieces to large scale installations, both outdoor and indoor, often accompanied by the striking effects of dramatic lighting.
A large part of the appeal of his work, aside from the beautiful character of the material and the colors and patterns within it, is the inspiration he takes from natural forms. His graceful, fluid objects echo forms from plants, birds and even undersea life. The natural origins of his shapes are frequently emphasized by installations in which his sculptures are placed in natural settings, notably in botanical gardens.
Chihuly studied glass at the first program of its kind at the University of Wisconsin in the 1960’s. He had the opportunity to work at the famed Venini glass factory in Venice. He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he later returned to establish and teach a glass program for 10 years, and cofounded the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State.
Chihuly’s work is in a number of museums, both small and large (I frequently get to see his installation at the Delaware Art Museum, above, second down) and has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, one of which is a major exhibition now running at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass, that is on view until August 2, 2011.
The museum has several videos and a slideshow feature on their website. Chihuly’s own website has several galleries, though the navigation is not as convenient as it might be. Take the trouble to drill down into subcategories like Exhibitions: Gardens or Glass Series: Fiori: Indoor to get to the actual galleries of work. There are also galleries of his preliminary drawings (above, 3rd down).