“I want my work to appear like it came from nature, so that if someone found it on a beach or in the forest, they might think it belonged there.”
- Dale Chihuly
Reflections on Nature
From 13th April to 27 October
I visited the exhibition at Kew on the first Sunday after it opened. There are 32 artworks dotted around the gardens in 13 different locations, both indoors and out. I’d advise picking up a map from the ticket office rather than serendipitously stumbling upon them as I did.
The landscape of Kew Gardens provides the perfect canvas for Chihuly’s work. The surrounding foliage both compliments and contrasts with Chihuly’s unique art installations. Some works subtly integrate, embedding themselves into the substrate whilst others hover, appearing otherworldly.
The works culminate in the newly restored temperate house, drawing visitors in their droves down the cherry blossom pathway towards the entrance. The showstopper here, in shades of azure, is Temperate House Persians (2019). Created especially for the Kew exhibition, the ethereal structure is suspended 19 metres above the ground and floats majestically above the plants below.
It has been 13 years since Kew last hosted Chihuly. For me, the larger scale works provide the impact and excitement that usually entices me towards Chihuly's work however a selection of his more delicate works and expressive drawings are also on exhibition at Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art within the gardens. Here, you can watch a film about Chihuly’s creative process.
I’ll be returning to the exhibition and look forward to seeing the works illuminated under the evening sky at Chihuly Nights (15 August - 26 October).
See Kew.org for details