APRIL 13-SEPTEMBER 16, 2000

A familiar controversy in the art world addresses the difference between art and craft, most often assuming that art is superior to craft. It is suggested that the artist is the innovator with a conceptual idea, while the craft person is merely a facilitator using his mastery of technique and skill. A craftsperson is traditionally defined as one dedicated to the perfect construction of an object at the expense of its expressive power. Dale Chihuly obliterates this line of distinction between art and craft by abandoning the precision of craft to create sensuous, spontaneous objets d’art. It is, however, his knowledge and mastery of the glass-blowing technique that allows him to create his flamboyant glass works. Chihuly allows his affinity with the forests of the Pacific Northwest to inform his work. The experience of being deep in the forest, completely surrounded by trees, creates an almost otherworldly sense of floating freely, a sense of being cut off from civilization. Chihuly’s art attempts to harmonize with nature and “to express and restore the individual’s primordial sense of intrinsic value.”

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