It’s hard not to enjoy gazing at colourful forms that sparkle and twinkle, and that demand very little from you in return other than admiration. I think this is why the kid inside all of us loves fireworks, and why both toddlers and grownups alike love the Chihuly exhibition on at Toronto’s ROM (Royal Ontario Museum). Because whether you are an art aficionado or someone who just likes to colour inside – or outside – of the lines, these giant glass installations are sure to delight you.
Since this really is a visual feast for the eyes I’ll let the photos do most of the talking in this post. (But don’t worry, there’s still much more to see if you are planning to visit the museum!)
Glass Fiori (flowers) are a signature Chihuly form
If you’ve ever been to the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, you’ll recognize these “fiori” (flowers) since they adorn the ceiling over the main reception desk in that hotel. But in this installation, Chihuly uses these flowers differently, to suggest the colours and patterns in the design of Persian rugs. For this reason, he installs hundreds of these flowers in the ceiling, so that they all contained behind a glass panel, but when viewed from below, create depth and dimension like the patterns of a persian carpet.
Inspired by bonfires, perhaps?
Chihuly’s inspiration comes from everywhere, and he is the only one who can rightfully say what was the specific motivation behind each piece. But I like to think that this one is a particularly Canadian piece, because it looks like a giant bonfire, something that feels completely at home up here in the Great White North. And the way the light illuminates the ‘tips’ of these flames and makes them visually dance is particularly beautiful.
An underwater garden comes alive with light
A different kind of cornucopia
Chihuly has done several boat installations in his portfolio of work, with different forms and shapes, but I particularly loved the colours of this one and the organic movement of the blue spears and pink ‘explosions’ dripping over the sides.
Organic forms of flora and fauna
Native American arts inspires Chihuly
I had no idea that Chihuly had such an extensive personal collection of Native American baskets, some of which provided inspiration for Chihuly’s glass interpretations (these baskets are also priceless in their own right and a bonus to see in the exhibition.)
Likewise this enviable collection of Pendleton blankets, prized for their colours and patterns since they were first produced at the beginning of the 20th century.
Chihuly is a multi-media master
I was pleasantly surprised to see several serigraphs and lithographs in Toronto’s Chihuly exhibition. Up until this show, I had only seen a few of these works at the Chihuly gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida, and thought that these other paper works were few and far between. But it’s easy to see that whether he is working with paint or glass, Chihuly has a style and colour palette that is recognizably his, whichever medium he chooses.
The Chihuly Exhibition is on at the ROM until January 2, 2017. Tickets are $17 but include admission to the permanent collections as well. For more about Dale Chihuly, read his biography here.
Jane Canapini is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the North American Travel Journalists Association. She established GrownupTravels.com in 2014 to share information and tips based on personal experience so her readers could get the most out of their travels.
I’ve seen many Chihuly installations and can’t get enough! It was lovely to view your images of yet another one.
Thank you, Carole. I’m glad you enjoyed the eye candy! (his glass works do remind me of candy, now that I think about it!)
Beautiful! I definitely have to go check this out. First saw his work at the botanical gardens in Arizona – mesmerizing.
I was at the gardens years ago, probably pre-Chihuly. I’d love to see some of his outdoor garden installations myself, since I’ve only really seen the interior exhibitions.
I was just in St.Petersburg to see a permanent exhibit and he is so talented. It’s fantastic people don’t have to travel they can see it here!
The gallery in St. Pete’s was my introduction to Chihuly too, Ayngelina (well, aside from seeing the Fiori in Vegas). Which is why I was thrilled to see it come to Toronto as well. I think people are very impressed.
I’ve been to the Bellagio but Wow! I love the one with the boat.
There were a couple of boats in the Chihuly show, but I liked this purple one the best (might just be the colours). He definitely isn’t afraid of scale!
Absolutely fantastic! The colors are so vibrant, loved seeing these. Thanks for sharing.
The credit really goes to Chihuly for the vibrant colours – it’s almost impossible to take a bad photo!
OH my goodness! His work takes your breath away! We have visited Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle many times and I have written posts about it too! You did a fabulous job describing his incredible artistic genius. I loved bringing a new visitor to the exhibit to see their faces take in his work for the first time. Breathtaking!
I agree, I think the more you see, the more you love Chihuly. What I loved was the fact that kids found it just as beautiful, because at its most basic level, it is a celebration of light and colour. No Art History degree required!
How many lotteries do I have to win to have a ceiling like that, I wonder? Two of my favourite thing combined – flowers and colourful glass. I can easily image spending hours in a room like that, watching the colours shift and dance on the walls as the sun moves around.
If you ever get the chance to visit Las Vegas, Julie, you’ll love the ceiling of the Bellagio hotel that Chihuly filled with his Fiori. Even more spectacular in its size!
I love Chihuly’s work and it looks like the exhibition at the ROM is as spectacular as all of his exhibitions. I may get to Toronto this fall and this will be on my must-sees if I do. I recently visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum in Seattle and it was wonderful (post coming soon). There was a room with the Native American influenced pieces – I hadn’t seen that aspect of his work before.
I was surprised as well, to see the Native influenced pieces but I guess when you are an artist, the creative drive starts from all kinds of places. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this exhibition if you already love Chihuly!