While each of the artists address the subject of light in one way or another, only a few use actual illumination to achieve their goal. Jennifer Steinkamp projects her digitally rendered imagery onto a transom window, animating and softening the architecture with organic patterning. Charles LaBelle explores the quality of the nocturnal landscape in much of his work. Here, a sculptural hotel sign glows pink and distorted, mimicking the otherworldly light of night vision. Alex Lopez’s vanity mirror relief beckons viewers with its reflective surface and illuminated lights. Upon approaching the piece, the viewer triggers an applause soundtrack, which reiterates the theme of absorption and adoration. Kiki Seror’s graphic texts, transcribed from actual web chat rooms and backlit by a light box, lure the viewer into participation.
Because of its ability to contain and alter light, plastic has a long history of use by California artists such as Craig Kauffman. In Terri Friedman’s work, plastic is transformed into an updated version of stained glass with the pouring of translucent acrylic colors on window-like sheets. Alicia Beach and Yek utilize shaped wooden supports and acrylic paint to create intense, atmospheric luminosity that literally glows.
Nancy Haynes pairs historical references—icons, gold leaf, and the cruciform—with the popular technology of glow in the dark paint. Another New Yorker, Christian Garnett, induces extreme illusions with spiritual overtones by relying on traditional pigments rather than specifically reflective materials.
The lack of light is an equally important theme in the exhibition. Alan Wayne’s dark monochrome paintings—so heavily pigmented that they absorb practically the artificial light illuminating them—are infused with the silent glow of resonating darkness. The absence and presence of light in the works in Glow represent a range of philosophical, symbolic and technological positions through which our changing world may at least be partially illuminated.