Chihuly at Cheekwood was a hard act to follow for acclaimed British artist Bruce Munro. Munro’s creative use of plastic bottles, spheres and optic fibers as an artistic medium turned Cheekwood’s expansive grounds into an otherworldly and glowing experience for the second-ever North American exhibition of LIGHT May 24 through Nov. 10, 2013, but would it impress those who had seen Chuhuly Nights in 2010?
The LIGHT exhibit began with the colorful Water Towers, 40 rectangular structures built out of more than 10,000 one-liter plastic bottles filled with water and fiber optics.
After walking through an arbor and down a path which could have used some light, Fireflies in the Bamboo Garden provided delicate illumination of the Oriental garden while the 5′ glowing orb of the Blue Moon dominated the Japanese garden dry lake.
The most colorful of the displays was Light Reservation where colored fluorescent tubes create tipi-like shapes as they flickered next to the pond where the colorful reflections danced across the water.
The luminous Field of Light at the Munro exhibit with its graceful 20,000 glowing bulbs was quite beautiful and looked like an alien field of flowers, but it ended abruptly in the middle of one field and was almost completely hidden by walls and shrubbery in other places.
Perhaps the most interesting of the light displays was Fagin’s Urchins a display created for the formal reflection pool at Cheekwood where dark spheres emitted pinpricks of light across the surface of the reflecting pool next to the Cheek mansion.
There were also two indoor fiber optic light fixtures inside the Cheekwood Museum of Art, Light Shower and Bell Chandelier, which were both impressive.
Unfortunately, the flickering LED candles in the Japanese garden pavilion were underwhelming. Following the spectacular Chihuly Nights by just three years begged for comparisons between the two light shows, and the plastic bottles and glowing spheres of Bruce Munro’s outdoor art installation paled in comparison. However, Bruce Munro LIGHT was definitely worth a visit to Cheekwood and provided a memorable experience.
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