I realize this may sound blasphemous, but–in general–I’m not all that into Chihuly glass. It’s the same way I feel about about the Dave Matthews Band: I see why other people like it; on a technical level, I understand and appreciate the technique and design and artistry that goes into it; and on occasion, I’ve even been known to just go with the crowd and sing and dance to it (or, watch it’s appearance in the hotshop, as the case may be). But I just don’t like it all that much.**
Maybe it’s because I’ve been overexposed to certain colors, shapes, and themes in Chihuly glass: The Mary Baker Russel Music building at PLU had that huge wreath of flattened anemone shapes in stripy glass… The Swiss downtown and the McDonalds on Tacoma Avenue South have variations on the same. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been inspired to do the research and see what else there is that I might like better. Or maybe it’s just not my bag, artistically speaking.
The Chihuly installation at the Seymour Botanical Conservatory at Wright Park has given me new way of looking at the glass: Planted in the natural world (as natural as you get under glass) as a complement to growing things… not a surreal, Seussical impression of flora, mounted on walls and black backgrounds.
I actually walked right by at least 10 pieces of glass when I pushed through the sweaty glass door of the Conservatory this morning… surprising, since subtlety isn’t usually a characteristic I associate with Chihuly. The bright blue glass tendrils were, of course, a pretty big give-away that art was in the house; but for the most part, pieces were nicely mixed and matched and camouflaged in all corners that you almost had to look for them. Almost.
There were about 20 people in the Conservatory at the same time–a great crowd for the President’s Day holiday–and the kids in particular seemed to be having fun treasure hunting amidst the gorgeous spring tulips and the ever-present orchids.
I even found a piece that that made me say, “oooh, I like this one. Look at those flowers!”
And I didn’t even think about appreciating the technique or anything.
Chihuly at Seymour 100
Running thru Feb 22nd
Tues-Sun, 10 am -4:30 pm
Suggested Donation of $5
FREE Feb 19th 10 am – 8 pm
** Just as I know I’m likely to be in the minority of Tacomans who don’t love or at least really like Chiuhuli glass, I also realize that there are probably all of 50 female northwest liberal arts students in existence who graduated in the last 10 years and don’t like Dave Matthews. Maybe we should start a support group.