Review: Chihuly Exhibit


Toronto artists’ attentions have been tuning into the new Chihuly exhibit now displayed at the Royal Ontario Museum. I took some time to check out this artist’s grand works and despite the criticism it has received from The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail, I was not disappointed by what I saw.

Photographers have your cameras ready because Chihuly encourages that you take photos of his works! The lighting and displays are perfect for you to get some gorgeous shots in.


Who is Chihuly?

Before I dive into the recap of my visit, let’s take a step back and discuss who Chihuly is. Dale Chihuly is an glass sculptor who’s blown glass art is recognized for its incredible scale and colourful display. Inspired by his experience in Venice, Chihuly co-founded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State where he and his team create beautiful glass art. His work is displayed all over the world permanently as well as temporary exhibits – such as the one in we have the pleasure of viewing here.

“Dale Chihuly, an American sculptor, has mastered the alluring, translucent and transparent qualities of ice, water, glass and neon, to create works of art that transform the viewer experience.”

-Royal Ontario Museum, 2016

The Exhibit

The photographer in my was bouncing around in anticipation to see Chihuly’s work in person. While glass blowing is an art that has been developed and explored by many artists, Chihuly’s works take it to new heights in it’s grandeur. Everywhere you look in the exhibit you are greeted with an array of colours and shapes that can only be described as “imagination”. The lights that are used to display these works truly illuminates them and you can see how each piece’s placement enhances one another.

One of the most coveted works on display would be the Persian Ceiling (see above). While it sparked a lot of controversy for the name, it was a delight to see the colourful lights decorate the room as it shone through the various coloured shapes on the ceiling. There are cushions and benches for you to sit or lie down and enjoy the view. I personally found the room amusing and beautiful in it’s simplicity. You don’t always need to be moved to tears by every work of art for it to be considered ‘good’.

Overall, I understand where some of the critics are coming from. From the onset, this exhibit did not start off on the right foot with the naming of the works. When you enter the exhibit, it seems very grand and yet sparse. However, I enjoyed my visit there because each piece was unique in it’s own way and Chihuly did deliver what he is known for – grand and beautiful coloured glass pieces.

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