Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Chihuly glass art, day 2 in St. Petersburg, Florida

My visit to downtown St. Petersburg included a comfortable hotel room (The Inn on 3rd) within easy walking distances to nearby major attractions. One is the permanent exhibit of the glass art of Dale Chihuly, a native of the U.S. northwest, Chihuly's work has attracted attention of viewers worldwide.

The above is a hanging chandelier, about 10 feet in length, created on a private commission, now at the Morean Art Center in St. Petersburg.

Next is one of many works entitled "Ikebana," reflecting the Japanese tradition of floral arrangement. Each element is a separate item.

Chihuly grew up in the Pacific northwest of the United States, where glass floats from Japanese fishing nets occasionally drift ashore. Here is a boat full of globes representing fishing floats. Click here for the video.

Here is another chandelier. Each piece is created separately and then assembled in place.

The "Persian ceiling" consists of many different glass objects, all reflecting light. Our guide explained that Dale Chihuly built a swimming pool with a "Persian" base.

At the far end of the Persian ceiling is another beautifully balanced Ikebana arrangement.

This is a blue neon installation:

And here is the Pièce de resistance, entitled I Fiore, "Flowers:" 

The Chihuly permanent exhibit is at the Morean Art Center in downtown St. Pete. An admission ticket to the exhibit includes an opportunity to view local artists working in the "Hot Shop" and learn about the process of creating a new work.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Dalí in St. Petersburg, Florida

With a strong interest in the art of Salvador Dalí and with sufficient accumulated travel miles to have a free flight to Florida, I decided to make a short visit to St. Petersburg. The extraordinary collection of Dalí's work is the result of a private collection that was donated to the city of St. Petersburg. The city's responsibility was to create a space to display the work.

St. Petersburg is a wonderful city to visit, with 255,000 inhabitants. It's western edge faces the Gulf of Mexico, while the eastern edge faces the large Tampa Bay. A visitor feels welcomed in this attractive and vibrant city. I was surprised by the many passing strangers who smiled and said hello. The downtown arts district has this painted intersection:
(Click on any photo to enlarge)

A local hair salon has a socio-political message:

The city built the museum on the waterfront, facing the yacht harbor and Tampa Bay. The Dalí can resist a category 5 hurricane, but just in case, all the artwork is on the third floor of this impressive structure, to avoid any possible contact with flooding water.

View from the inside looking at the marina and Tampa Bay.

In addition, The Dalí has a temporary exhibit of the Basque artist Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002), with several works in iron, clay, stone and paper. This large work, In Praise of Light, is a block of alabaster, a favorite material of Chillida. It is a beautiful stone and the artist has created some remarkable pieces.

Another view of the same piece:

This smaller piece of alabaster invites long viewing because of the angles and curves.

Another favorite material is iron, reflecting the age old tradition of Basque iron extraction and forges. Chillida created a technique to bend iron into shapes that reminds me of drawings of Escher. This is called Union, created in 1992:

Embrace, created in 1992:

More about the Dalí collection in Florida. 

This was a visit well worth the effort. It was a first experience for me, flying across the country to visit a museum. I seldom drive 90 minutes from my home to museums in San Francisco! 

But there is more, as next day I was astounded by the glass art of Dale Chihuly. That's the subject of the next post.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Wildlife in the changing Andorran Pyrenees

I joined a group of volunteers under the auspicies of Earthwatch to help scientists collect data on the effects of climate change on the flora and fauna in Andorra. The work was over a period of six days, in the fresh air of the steep mountains with spectacular views. Our accommodations were more than adequate at the Hotel Bringué in the El Serrat community above Ordino, Andorra. We are at about 5,100 feet above sea level.

Here is the view from my room. 
Cows are grazing below the balcony.

Each work day we traveled by vehicle to the trail head, and then headed up the steep terrain to various sites.

Wildflowers were in abundance in the springtime environment, but I never expected to see fields of wild daffodils!

We were always assured gorgeous scenery and challenging hikes.

Brooke is setting tea bags in the soil to measure microbial activity. 
We are working at about a 45-degree angle.

Diana and Brooke take a siesta on the steep mountain.

Setting mist nets to catch small birds. They are banded and measured before being released.

Studying birds in the field. Principal Investigator Bernat looks on.

Jana is the certified bird specialist. Irene is learning. Both of these capable scientists were invaluable to the project. Their patience was much appreciated, and they were positive and happy people to work with.

This was one work site at about 7,500-foot elevation. Spectacular!

One happy camper!