During this trip, I have had my "art antennas" up, searching for my favorite artist - Dale Chihuly - a renown glass blower. I had seen a traveling show of his in Colorado while in high school and have wanted to see more ever since. However, no art museum that we passed by had any of his pieces and even upon asking in a couple glass galleries we came up empty handed. By the time we had entered the South, I was pretty discouraged and figured he had evaporated.
But surprise upon surprise! Oklahoma City of all places! I was thrilled to bits to hear from our friend Marge that the OK City Art Museum had dedicated a full floor to Chihuly's work. And even better - admission was FREE! Oh joys!
Seeing Chihuly's work while on the final days of this trip could not have been a more rich experience for me. This road trip has been one of ridiculous adventure, of risk, of beauty, and of friendship. A journey that we have purposefully invited and shared with others. In a way, this specific artist captures that very essence.
Chihuly is an artist who believes that nothing can be too colorful. His exhibits involve so much - the lighting is purposeful, the arrangement and placement of the pieces create diversity and congruency in such a balanced way. Sometimes I felt like I was a hundred miles under the sea, walking the ocean floor, surrounded by glass vegetation and striped bulbous creatures. In the next room we were suspended in the gardens of outer-space... I'm not sure if I've seen color like this before. Truly, the creative potential of the human mind and hands that Chihuly demonstrates inspires me to know no bounds. Gravity doesn't seem to be an issue for him. Color doesn't have restrictions - "I never met a color I didn't like". Form doesn't have to make sense. He just releases.
I was really impressed in watching a documentary of Chihuly working in Italy with other renown glass artisans to co-create several breathtaking pieces, each bearing the unique marks of all the artists that contributed. What impressed me was that this was Chihuly's idea - to unite and share with other artists... what a bold move! He wasn't threatened by their ability or the fear of being overshadowed, but instead found meshing with other artists to be exhilarating. Because of an car accident that cost Chihuly his eye, he now always works with a team of people every time he makes a piece, operating as more of a conductor than a soloist. I think this is beautiful. He seems to be so open-handed with his work, so curious and so very free. Every time I have had the pleasure of walking through a Chihuly exhibit, I leave feeling empowered by the reality of someone living outside the confines of fear, obligation, apathy, and pride. In these pieces of daring size and blazing colors I find liberation!
So if you ever have the chance to see Chihuly's work - DO! You will be enriched!