Monday, 9 January 2012

Dale Chihuly

The swanky art galleries of Mayfair are not my normal stomping ground. Big imposing buildings, guards on the door, expansive reception lobbies with expensive flower displays, a certain type of young lady at the reception desk, and exhibition catalogues at prices I couldn’t possibly afford. And then there’s the art, good or bad, my taste or not, but always priced in megabucks.

Last month I met up with a friend for our Christmas lunch, who then walked me over to the Halcyon Gallery in New Bond Street, promising something very special.

Dale Chihuly is an American sculptor who works in glass, generally producing complex, connected, inter-twining pieces, on a very large scale (at presumably very large prices; I didn’t even look). And they are fabulous.

The installations are very large, often a single piece fills a whole gallery. Each is composed of many pieces, intricately combined to create a whole. All are hand produced, blown into incredible shapes and structures, and finished with fabulous colouring. They appear to have no visible fixings, one to the other, other than glass. Some are simple, tall shapes, boldly finished in perhaps two colours. Others are equally large, yet much more delicate, with softer colours, allowing lights to pass through and throw wonderful patterns onto the wall and floor.

I realised I had seen one example of Chihuly’s work previously. It hangs in the main entrance of the Victoria and Albert Museum, a huge chandelier, 9 metres high.

This photograph c Andrew Dunn

The exhibition continues at the Halcyon until 31st March. If you are able to, do go along. Entry is free, the staff are welcoming, you won’t need to buy a catalogue, and they’ll let you take photographs too. You can see more photographs on the Halcyon Gallery website here

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