Palmer Museum of Art

Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA



Dale Chihuly: "Seaforms "

June 22 through September 12, 1999


Dale Chihuly (American, b. 1941), Magenta Pink Seaform Set with Green Lip Wraps, 1990, blown glass, 20 x 34 x 18 inches, Collection of the artist. Photo: Rob Whitworth.


Beginning on June 22, 1999, the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State will host Dale Chihuly: "Seaforms, " an exhibition featuring over thirty works ranging from fully executed blown glass pieces to preparatory works on paper.

Dale Chihuly is considered by many to be the world's pre-eminent artist working in glass today. His exquisite glass sculptures are held in the collections of more than 120 museums, and installations of his work have appeared throughout the world. The vibrantly colored, undulating Seaforms, created between 1980 and 1995, call to mind exotic forms of marine life and shatter conventional ideas of what glass art can be. Chihuly explores the inherent malleability and natural fluidity of molten glass, creating amorphous objects that appear aiive.

Chihuly, who was honored by the Institute for Human Potential of the University of North Carolina as America's first National Living Treasure in 1992, founded the now world-renowned Pilchuck Glass School near Seattle, Washington, nearly thirty years ago. Teamwork and collaboration became crucial to the artist s work when a series of injuries -- first, an auto accident in 1976 that caused him to lose sight in his left eye, and then, a dislocated shoulder -- kept him from blowing glass on his own. Whereas the series of accidents he faced might have spelled disaster for the careers and productivity of more staunchly independent artists, Chihuly was able to adapt to the physical limitations before him. He now assumes the roles of designer and supervisor, orchestrating a group of assistants who in turn execute his designs.

Together, the drawings and glass pieces of the Seaforms allow visitors to follow the range of Chihuly's collaborative vision, from his earliest ideas on paper to their full realization in luminous glass. For Chihuly the series draws upon the commonalties shared by glass and water -- two substances which, at first consideration, appear to have little in common. "Glass itself, of course, is so much like water," he says. "If you let it go on its own, it almost ends up looking like something that came from the sea." This collection of Chihuly's work pushes the boundaries of glassmaking, bringing to the surface shapes and colors rarely seen on dry land.

Located on Curtin Road near the University Creamery on Penn State's University Park campus, the Palmer Museum is open from Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Admission to the museum is free. The Palmer Museum is accessible to those with disabilities. (information as of 6/99)

Read more about the Palmer Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine .

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in 1999 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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