Monday, July 12, 2010

More Chihuly

St. Petersburg's Chihuly Collection (presented by the Morean Arts Center) opens to the public today.

This fascinating collection of art includes many of glass artist Dale Chihuly's drawings as well as his colorful, eye-catching pieces. Some date as far back as the 1970s while others are as new as the gallery itself.

A few of the many intriguing items in the collections include the settings of the different rooms themselves - such as the room that contains pieces from Chihuly's Persians, Venetians and Seaforms series. Architect Alberto Alfonso, who led Saturday's media tour with Britt Cornett, head of exhibitions at Chihuly, Inc., said the room is metaphorically a reflection of the Venetian sea. The colors, shapes and lighting of the glass works represent the sky, the sea and life under the sea.

The Macchia room, featuring Chihuly's Macchia series is a picturesque forest of glass. In fact, the flower-like works have been set up on tall stands to give them the appearance of trees.

A collection of rooms in the rear serve as metaphoric "chapel," Alfonso said. They include the large-scale Mille Fiore - a glass forest of sorts, with the neon blue Tumbleweeds room and a room featuring a tall cylinder of Blenko glass acting as "side naves."

Alfonso noted that the Mille Fiore has several gaps within the piece. They were purposely left that way by Chihuly for "a secret garden effect, creating a pathway through the glass," he said. 

- January Holmes

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