dale chihuly Halcyon gallery London

Chihuly at the Halcyon Gallery

I popped into this Exhibition at the Halycon Gallery on New Bond Street on Monday with Illy. www.halcyongallery.com
It turned out to be one of those hidden gems you stumble across. The gallery itself was a complete surprise it opened up into this intriguing space divided into several rooms and basement including what looked like a vault or old safe large enough to walk into, and a small room sitting at the top of a stunning staircase which faced you as you enter the building.
Scattered between original architectural features was Chihuly's glass installations.

By looking at the two Chandeliers sitting in the Bay windows from the outside you have no idea how extensive the exhibition is going to be.

I'm going to briefly talk about the three key elements I felt were important running throughout his  work shown here.



Anyone who is familiar with his work I'm sure will agree one of the first questions that come to mind is the sheer weight of one piece and the huge undertaking of transporting a body of work such as this. It makes me anxious just thinking about it. 
The scale of some pieces are made up of multiples which ultimately allows larger pieces to be made and constructed more easily, there are also several pieces of a sizable scale made from one piece of glass (see image 1) in these particular forms there is a clear fluidity The transformation from a soft mailable material when hot to a static hard material once cooled these forms are immortalized in an  illusion of motion captured throughout the making process. 


Shadow is very often something we consider to be dark here we see these brilliant shadows being cast through a transparent or coloured surface which reflects and abstracts not only the colour but also the patina or surface finishes on the glass forms, It gives the impression that the form is stretching out beyond itself.This can be malnipulated by the light and the placement of each piece. Chihuly's work has an abililty to fit into many different contexts by framing the work in such a way allows it to be seen seen or understood differently. By framing the work within a slightly darkened room creates a different mood compared to being outside where sunlight is constantly changing and spotlights do not exist shadows would be cast according to the wheather.
By viewing the work within the a gallery those pieces are seen within a constant state and their placement has been carefully considered.


Colour within glass has gone hand in hand  for many centuries predominately used in stained glass windows and I think we have become familiar with glass being used as a tool to tell a visual story within the context of Church design but what I find fascinating is it's transparency almost as though it's been used to convey the truth because there's no possible way of hiding or concealing imperfection.
Chihuly's use of colour pushes glass into a completely different realm he creates sculptural abstract landscapes and certainly doesn't shy away from colour it is used and applied with utter conviction and confidence. Transparent surfaces sit next to opaque pattern and cut surfaces resembling crystal all of these details need to seen close up to appreciate the level of craftsmanship. There are hints of the influence of Murano glass here with subtle application of metallic and gold leaf

Downstairs sits a collection of more traditional vessels forms, slightly subdued compared to the work upstairs where monotones are used to frame a series of pieces layered with what may appear to be drawn marks. Personally I loved this collection maybe it was something to do with the fact that resemble porcelain.... But I think it was the way the marks reflected through to the internal surface. It meant that the pieces were intended to be seen from every angle not just from the outside which is often the case with the vessel form. 

The exhibition is on until 31st March 2012