Reflecting on the properties of glass, Dale Chihuly notes, “You can blow it and make fine art of human breath. It’s like being able to manipulate water.” The yielding and supple forms of the artist’s Seaform series proved fertile ground for him to implement a technique he observed during his apprenticeship at the Venini factory in Murano, Italy: the body wrap. The application of these thin, sinuous ribbons of color to the body of the form further enhanced the aquatic simile of this series. “TheSeaforms call forth associations with water, marine life and movement without depicting them, and that’s why they so persuasively affect us as art,” notes writer and art critic Joan Seeman Robinson.
The two elements composing the 2016 Chihuly Workshop Studio EditionStar Fire Seaform exhibit an intricate example of the traditional Venetianwrap. The larger element, which is asymmetrical as if shaped by tidal motions into its final form, is wreathed by a brilliant, twisted orange and red body wrap that accentuates its rhythmic swells. Inside rests a slightly more opaque element displaying the same tonal attributes while anchoring the focal point of the sculpture. A navy blue lip wrap is applied to each element, providing a graphic finale.
Each handblown Star Fire Seaform measures approximately ten inches in diameter, with Chihuly’s signature engraved into the glass. A Plexiglas vitrine and a copy of Chihuly Seaforms, a compact book including a DVD and an essay by Davira S. Taragin describing the historical and aesthetic contexts of this series, complete the ensemble.
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