Yesterday I visited London’s Kew Gardens. I’m a member so I try to pop in on a regular basis and photograph in different seasons and times of day. I went specifically to see the glass sculptures which are interspersed amongst the landscape. The artist is Dale Chihuly, an American born in 1941. The exhibition is called Reflections on Nature. Chihuly doesn’t just randomly create work but is interested in how his pieces interact with the environment, be it architecture or nature.
In the photograph below his sculpture Sapphire Star is partially visible through the foliage at Kew; art and nature intertwined:
His installations – there is a trail of 12 locations throughout the gardens – can also be seen in the recently restored Temperate House, the world’s largest Victorian greenhouse, itself an architectural wonder of iron and glass. This is a detail of a stunning piece entitled the Temperate House Persians which is apparently 9 meters long and is suspended from the ceiling:
I was fortunate to see a girl with dyed coral hair standing by his fiery sun sculpture:
In this image the swan’s long curved neck is echoed in the form of the elegant glass tendrils:
I realised that I’d come across Chihuly’s work before on numerous visits to the Victoria and Albert Museum – I see it very time in the foyer – but hadn’t known the artist’s name. Here are a couple of photos I’d taken last year that show his work in a very different context, this time in conjunction with dark, burnished interiors embellished with religious iconography:
Also at the V&A, another glass detail that resonated with me. Seen in one of the cafés – I believe it’s the Gamble Room – this is a painted glass window featuring a woman raising a tambourine:
Last year I saw a glass art installation in Venice, Italy. The location was the small island of San Giorgio Maggiore, which I used to visit regularly years as a student as it had a good art history library there. The installation, called Qwalala, was created by another American artist, Pae White. It was a wet, rainy day:
Next are a couple of photos that convey some of the colours used in the artwork:
The structure itself is a 65 metre long curved wall, comprised of thousands of glass bricks hand crafted in the Veneto Region:
Also published on Medium.