Fire and Light
At once organic and otherworldly, pure and complicated, Dale Chihuly's glass works brilliantly combine the simplicity of the medium with the extraordinary innovation of the artist. From Chihuly’s studio in Seattle to installation sites throughout San Francisco, CHIHULY FIRE & LIGHT observes the artist at work with his team as he conceives and creates his most ambitious exhibition to date, Chihuly at the de Young. This 2008 exhibition included 11 galleries of new and archival works representing the breadth and scope of the artist's creative vision during the last four decades. From the Mille Fiori (a 56-foot garden of glass) to the Saffron Tower (a 30-foot neon sculpture), Chihuly's exquisite sculptures challenge convention with bold color, dramatic forms and extraordinary composition. In addition to interviews with architect Frank Gehry and other artists, art critics and museum executives, the film highlights the collaborative qualities of Chihuly’s creative process, in which he entrusts hundreds of talented glassblowers to execute his vision.
A Tacoma native, Chihuly elevated glassblowing to a high art form, allowing it to serve as a vehicle for large-scale self-expression, rather than mere mantelpiece craft. His works are internationally displayed; from the Tacoma Art Museum and Museum of Glass to Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory, from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum to Venice and Murano, these exquisite sculptures capture a unique image of the natural world while maintaining a strong element of fantasy. In Chihuly Fire & Light, the artist explores the use of neon lights to accompany his already vibrant glass pieces. The film also highlights the collaborative qualities of Chihuly’s creative process. This, ironically, is part of his trademark: the use of the collective to form something singular. Appealing to long-time fans and first-time viewers alike, Chihuly Fire & Light is an integral part of Seattle and its prominent art scene.