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Chihuly at the ROM

For 50 years, artist Dale Chihuly has been creating alluring glass installations that mesmerize and delight viewers around the world. His glass-blown works of art are known to transform spaces into immersive experiences. And his latest exhibit, CHIHULY at The Royal Ontario Museum of Art (ROM) is no exception.

On display from June 25, 2016 to January 2, 2017 in the Museum’s Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall, CHIHULY consists of 11 installations including some newly created works and series favourites. Influenced by his upbringing in the Northwestern United States, Chihuly is famous for pulling inspiration from nature. As a result, many of his pieces reflect the qualities of ice, water and flowers and plant life.

“All of this has created a man with a vision who has pushed the boundaries of blown-glass,” says Diane Charbonneau, CHIULY’s guest curator from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA). “Colour and light are his trademarks. He has a sense of colour like no one else working in glass.”

Charbonneau curated the MMFA’s Chihuly exhibit in 2013, one of his first major exhibitions in Canada. Working with with Nathalie Bondil, MMFA director and chief curator, she has helped support the initiative to bring his monumental works to the ROM.

Must-see installations include Persian Ceiling, one of Chihuly’s most recognized works and Laguna Torcello, an intricate garden of glass that was introduced in 2012 to his long-standing series, Mille Fiori (“thousand flowers” in Italian). Some of the works on display, like Fire Orange Baskets, pay homage to his early glass replicas of Northwest Coast Indian baskets.

A stunning exploration of form, colour and light, CHIHULY is an absorbing exhibit that succeeds in making imaginations run wild. ■

Words by Julia Eskins

Photos by Aleyah Solomon

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