Art in musuems is fine, but when the art goes three-dimensional and outdoors, it’s an immersive experience and I love it even more. Such was yesterday’s visit to the Biltmore Estate and the Chihuly glass exhibit.
It was foggy when I arrived for the morning visit, making the photography easier than dealing with direct sunlight and glare on the glass pieces. There were a lot of the classic Chihuly shapes, familiar to me since I lived in Seattle and visited the Chihuly exhibit there several times.
What is most striking about the daytime visit is how well the glass installations mesh with the landscaping. Frederick Law Olmstead designed the gardens and grounds in 1890; Chihuly took two years to design his exhibit, and the attention shows in every angle of every piece.
Looking from one side, the white Tower echoes and highlights the the plants and architecture. From the other side, it reflects the trees behind it and reflects itself in the water, a lovely sight indeed.
In the daytime, the Sole d’Oro is a crazy wild ball of pieces that welcome visitors to the show.
At dusk, the yellows reflect the fading light and change the piece into something very different. And that’s the point of the Chihuly at Night exhibit, to see the pieces literally in a different light.
The pergola walk became a spooky tour of glass reeds, shadows casting mysteries on each piece. In the conservatory, the chandeliers, barely noticeable in the daytime, because the stars, hanging from thin rods like comets in the night sky.
My favorite exhibit at Chihuly Seattle has always been the boats filled with ikebana and floats, so I was pleased to see this installation in the garden. The placing of floats inside the boat, instead seeing them on the outside where they belong, always makes me smile.
The exhibit closes Sunday, and I’m happy I got the opportunity to see it while it and I were both in the same city. My time in Asheville has definitely been enhanced by the chance Chihuly encounter.
I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced.