Cincinnati

Dale Chihuly

Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati

This exhibition of Dale Chihuly’s work foregrounded the dialogue between classical container and organic exuberance that characterizes his work. Ikebana, 1992, is a series of elegantly somber gray vases with subtle contours, tautened by the formal restraint and reverence for tradition fundamental to oriental ceramics, however teased by Chihuly’s tendrils of glass winding around and down from their mouths. In the “Venetians,” 1989–92, the shoulders and bellies of the vases suggest full-blown fertility figures, which sprout incorrigible fronds of lilies and wildly coiling vines in a chorus of variations.

A forthright showpiece and technical tour de force, the huge Chandelier, 1992, is made of yolky-yellow globes suspended from the ceiling like a trophy of nippled balloons. These pendulous, biomorphic bags (created especially for the bay window of a gallery overlooking downtown traffic) are

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