Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Master glass artist is all over Ketchum

Dale Chihuly bares gifts and new work

Express Staff Writer

"Black Sea Anemone and Fish on Gilt" by Dale Chihuly. Striped Vessel (2006) at the Ochi Gallery.

Dale Chihuly's contribution to the world of glass art has revolutionized the medium and placed him at the top of one of the world's most influential glass empires. No matter the scrutiny of a global business, it is important to recognize that when a prolific businessperson or artist becomes a grand figure, their generosity does not go unnoticed.

Chihuly glass is unmistakable in appearance, and it can be seen around the world and in almost every major city across the U.S. He has influenced an entire generation of glass artists and is one of the most charitable artists alive today.

Chihuly has been coming to Ketchum for more than 15 years and every time he visits the valley he assists with a fundraising effort, said Dennis Ochi, owner of the Ochi Gallery in Ketchum.

"He has donated works to The Sun Valley Center for the Arts and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony," Ochi said. "This year Chihuly has donated a trip to the Boathouse with Dale Chihuly as a wine auction item."

Chihuly returns to Ketchum as a special guest for "Art for Art," an auction to benefit the nexStage Theatre's capital campaign fund to buy the theatre property.

Chihuly will also speak at the Community Library in Ketchum on his latest collection, "The Black Sea Forms," which will be on exhibition at the Ochi Gallery in Ketchum.

"Glass experts believe and have been touting that this series is some of his best work ever," Ochi said. "People will be surprised because it is not bright colors and exuberant forms but much more minimal and refined."

Ochi said that Chihuly's "The Black Sea Forms" is more sophisticated than what people are used to seeing. All of Chihuly's work is manifested by his craftsmen. All the concepts are his.

"The one thing that Dale's hand is involved in completely is the drawings of his work," Ochi said. "They are the blueprints for the hot shop and the glass blowers to work from."

What makes "The Black Sea Forms" so unusual is they are signature Chihuly style but are a departure from his commercial work.

"I think that people who are taken by the elegant forms and beautiful colors and all the complexities in his glass will see he has mastered simplicity," Ochi said. "I can't really verbalize or intellectualize, but these pieces have simplicity."


Chihuly in Ketchum

- Discussion on "The Black Sea Forms" on Thursday, July 19, 5:30 p.m. at the Community Library in Ketchum. For more details, call 726-3493.

- "Art for Art" reception and art auction at the nexStage Theatre on Saturday, July 21, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. to benefit nexStage capital campaign. Chihuly will meet guest and sign 100 copies of his book "Fire." Light refreshments and music by Alan Pennay. Bidding will begin promptly at 4 p.m. with auctioneer Dave Reynolds. For more details, call (208) 726-9124.

- Opening reception for "The Black Sea Forms" at the Ochi Gallery Saturday, July 21, from 7-9 p.m. The Ochi Gallery is located at 119 Lewis St. in Ketchum's light industrial center. For more details call 726-8746.

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