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We went to opening night of Chihuly at the de Young, June 14 – September 28 and it was spectacular. The de Young did not disappoint with the terrific lighting and installation that really showed of the beauty of the magical environments and pieces. I appreciated that they have timed tickets, so the place as not jammed.
Chihuly attributes growing up with his mother’s abundant flower gardens and watching sunsets with her over the years as having an influence on his work. You can really see that in his organic shades and bright colors. His color style also developed when he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice, Italy.
He references ikebana, a kind of Japanese flower arrangement, and picking up glass balls floating from Japan on the Puget Sound beaches in Washington. I took note of this since it is the same area my father grew up.
Two installations had a completely different more monochromatic tone and a quiet, yet powerful feel. Towering lavender spheres grew out of tree logs were stunning. Another room had a more earthy feel and here the influences were Native American woven baskets and blankets. Beautiful golden translucent glass baskets were spread out on a split redwood log which span the large room.
Something I also spent some time looking at were paintings he did before and during his creation of his glass pieces. It was interesting to me how they had a more matte quality which is so opposite of his usual translucent medium.
I think the show is very much worth going to. Even if you have seen his ceiling in Las Vegas or some of his smaller pieces, I think you still will be delighted and awestruck by the show.