When we think of light we think….
Pink Floyd cover art. White privilege. Crystals. Blue light eye blockers and amber light from dusk till dawn. Spiritual awakening. Mass media. Projectors. Phenomenology. Cinema. Space travel. Transparency. Remembrance. Reflection. Context. Desire. Mood. Magic.
PRISMS holds the proverbial Pink Floyd crystal up to the stream of light-based work flowing out of Southern California today. Like a prism, we aim to clarify, to show a spectrum, to make delightful rainbows dance across the walls.
This show by artist curators Cassie Riger and Mak Kern presents work by five Southern California artists working with light. The project arose out of a discussion during a road trip to Antelope Valley to see poppies, where we discussed our motivations and challenges as artists who work with light, “Why is it so hard to get people to dim the lights in the gallery? How does the viewer complete or activate the work? Is light-based art the same as or different from cinema? Is it spiritual? Is it functional? How is the experience of a dark gallery fundamentally different than a white cube? What are the aesthetic parameters? Why is it important? Why are so many artists working this way right now?”
The exhibiting artists take a viewer-centric approach to their inquiries about the philosophical and embodied aspects of working with light. Devin Kenny’s 3-D light piece references the CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) image recognition process. In Mak Kern’s hanging glass pieces, light is a means to invoke and awaken mindfulness. While in Cassie Riger’s orange inflected newsfeed of the 2016-2017 election coverage, light is the means of mind control. Hiromi Takizawa’s blown glass and light piece is inspired by the Pacific Ocean and the shipping containers unloaded at the port of Long Beach. Finally, in Isabel Theselius’s piece, light is an elusive material that signals gaps between words and cognition– a dreamstate.