Chihuly: An Exhibition of Prints and Works on Paper

  • LONDON, United Kingdom
  • /
  • May 14, 2020

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Dale Chihuly, Echo Floats, 2018, Screenprint with hand-colouring, 94 x 63.5 cm / 37 x 25” © Chihuly Studio

Exhibition Dates: Original dates 25 March — 1 May, now extended until July 2020.

Sims Reed Gallery is pleased to announce that the Chihuly exhibition has been extended through July this year. Although the gallery is currently closed to the public due to Covid-19, the exhibition can be explored via the 3D virtual exhibition, available here, and online catalogue, available here, on the gallery's website.

The exhibition features Fine Art prints and original works on paper by the internationally renowned American artist Dale Chihuly. With the extension of the exhibition, we are delighted to announce the inclusion of Chihuly’s newest edition, Cranberry Ikebana.

While celebrated for his exquisite and pioneering glass installations, drawing has always been integral to Chihuly’s artistic practice. They became an increasingly important means of communicating his ideas to his team after losing the sight of his left eye in 1976. These works evolved from charcoal and graphite studies into wilder colourful pieces, that according to the artist remain a crucial part of his creative process, without which the glass works would not have progressed in the way or at the speed with which they have. He describes the exchange of energy between the two as a flow of ideas, commenting that ‘drawing is a fluid process,’ like the blowing of glass.

This exhibition, which is comprised of thirty original prints and ten original works on paper, seeks to reveal the elision of these two disciplines. Some of the prints — a medium the artist has been exploring for almost 30 years — draw on his sculptural series, such as Baskets, Niijima Floats and Venetians, for inspiration, while others are purely imaginative.

As Chihuly has said, ‘sometimes the drawings would be about the glass; sometimes they’d just be drawings, a way to release the energy, or a way for my mind and body to be creative while the glassblowing was going on.’

The featured prints range from woodcuts, hand-coloured screenprints and lithographs, as well as many embellishments incorporated into the production of each. Says the artist, ‘I want people to be overwhelmed with light and colour in some way they’ve never experienced.’ These qualities, along with his two other guiding principles, asymmetry and irregularity, can be witnessed in the displayed works. For example, Echo Floats (2018), is formed of two swirling daffodil-yellow and iridescent violet spheres with speckled centres set against a spring green background. A work of exceptional beauty, it also mirrors the grand, spherical form and blended-colour surfaces that is found in the artist’s acclaimed Niijima Float series, which he commenced in 1991.

Spontaneity and immediacy, two qualities pivotal in Chihuly’s creative approach to both drawing and glassblowing, are emphasised in the charismatic energy of Cranberry Ikebana (2020). Set against a background that transitions from magenta to orchid, deep plum ink and grass-green acrylic paint define the base of the Ikebana from which fronds of iridescent gold and plum spring forth. Spatters and sprays of like colours convey the gestural motion achieved in the physical execution of the composition. This six-colour screenprint with hand-colouring is signed by Chihuly in acrylic and numbered in pencil.

Also included in the show are ten original works. The earliest of these, Venetian Drawing (1990), captures the immediacy of his astonishing visual invention, with upswept thrusts of black charcoal suggestive of birds or flames, while evoking the exuberant forms achieved in the sculptural series from which its title is derived.

In other original works presented, Chihuly’s dedication to experimentation is highlighted. His delight in stretching the limits of whatever media he works with is particularly evident in the Ikebana drawings (1998 and 2009), in which the artist employs an innovative technique of burning directly into the paper.

Max Reed, Gallery Director, says: ‘We are thrilled to be showing for the first time these prints and works on paper by Dale Chihuly, who over five decades has explored new and old techniques, pushing the boundaries of Contemporary Art to create works that transform the everyday experience. While he is globally and justly renowned for his installations and glass artwork, it is arguably on paper that these ideas initially emerge and are subsequently revisited, resulting in a creative collision that gives rise to astonishing works of beauty and depth.’

About Dale Chihuly
Dale Chihuly is an American artist noted for revolutionising the studio glass movement and elevating perceptions of the glass medium. Known for ambitious architectural installations in cities, museums, and gardens around the world, Chihuly utilises a variety of media to realise his creative vision, in-cluding glass, paint, charcoal, neon, ice, and Polyvitro. Chihuly’s work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide, including Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Corning Museum of Glass. Major exhibitions include Chihuly Over Venice (1995-96), Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem (1999), de Young Museum in San Francisco (2008), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2011), Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (2012), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada (2013), Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada (2016), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (2017), Groninger Museum, Groningen, the Neth-erlands (2018), and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, U.K (2019). Chihuly Garden and Glass, a long-term exhibition located at the Seattle Center, opened in 2012.

About Sims Reed Gallery
Sims Reed Gallery is located alongside Sims Reed Books, in the heart of London’s St. James’s. The gallery specialises in modern, post-war and contemporary original prints and works on paper. Founded in 1995, the gallery has since grown to hold an extensive inventory of works by leading artists of the 20th century alongside major contemporary artists. These include David Hockney, Bridget Riley, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Estes, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso. The gallery is a member of the Society of London Dealers (SLAD) and the International Fine Print Dealers Asso-ciation (IFPDA). In addition to their exhibition program of solo artist and mixed group shows, they also participate in a number of major international art fairs. These include the Armory Show in New York, Art Miami, Art Central, Hong Kong, The IFPDA Print Fair, New York; and Masterpiece, London.

For press information, please contact Albany Arts Communications:

Mark Inglefield
t: +44 (0) 20 78 79 88 95; m: +44 (0) 75 84 19 95 00

Harry Dougall
t: +44 (0) 20 78 79 88 95; m: +44 (0) 77 69 51 25 44

Sims Reed Gallery
43A Duke Street
St. James’s
London SW1Y 6DD
t: +44 (0) 20 7930 5111

Opening hours:
Sims Reed Gallery is temporarily closed to the public in response to the current situation with
COVID-19. The gallery team is working behind the scenes and can be contacted by email or

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