STOCKBRIDGE -- The work of some of the world's finest contemporary glass artists is on display in a gallery hideaway tucked behind a bank off the picturesque main street of this Berkshire town.
White walls and bright lights showcase a variety of objects, including Dale Chihuly's delicate "Baskets," Lino Tagliapetra's luminescent sculptures, and William Morris's anthropological shapes that look like ceramic, wood, or bronze.
Chihuly's penchant for using glass to create abstract sculptures that imitate organic shapes reveals itself in his "Persians" and "Seaforms" series, fluted bowl-like forms cradling a variety of shapes inside, all in extraordinarily rich colors. Look closely at "Amber Glow" and you will see shades of red, blue, purple, and green. Another Persian piece is an explosion of raspberry and magenta.
Morris's "Frog Vessel," a round frog with a mottled green back, looks like unglazed ceramic. Beside it, an animal pin appears made of wood. The effects derive from the surface treatment of the glass, said Mary Childs, associate director of the gallery.
Carved optical crystal by Christopher Ries and cast glass sculpture by Kreg Kallenberger create mesmerizing three-dimensional effects. As you turn Ries's beveled glass pieces, etched designs on the exterior are reflected in the interior, creating kaleidoscopic patterns. In Kallenberger's work, sculpted areas on the exterior are reflected and magnified throughout the piece, giving the effect of a landscape or seascape.
The largest pieces in the gallery are Chihuly's chandeliers, weighing some 400 pounds. Each is a series of gourd-like shapes and twisted ribbons in vibrant colors. They are not wired for light, Childs said, but are meant to reflect light around them.
While many of the artists create glass sculpture for corporate and public spaces on commission, most gallery customers are buying art for their homes, said Childs. Prices range from $1,500 to $160,000. But looking is free.