New York

Dale Chihuly

Charles Cowles Gallery

Dale Chihuly’s glassworks have met with a popularity most artists barely dream of. Among the causes for this are the dramas of their color, simultaneously intense and quasi-transparent; of their liquid shapes, the frozen traces of glass’ fluidity in its molten state; and of their peculiar, tense feeling of suspense, a product of the argument between their deceptively lush, sensual voluptuousness and their actual inelasticity and shatterable fragility. Most of all there is Chihuly’s formal inventiveness, the constant variations he is able to spin on both natural objects (shells, say, or flowers, or, in the recent show, the serpentine spikes he calls tusks) and glass’ traditional vehicles: the bowl or dish, the vessel or vase, even, bless us, the chandelier. On top of that, this brief description in no way captures his work’s baroque extravagance and the riotous, almost obscene suggestiveness

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