Everything is illuminated
New exhibition at SebARTS focuses on innovative uses of light in art - opening reception this Saturday
Sebastopol Center for the Arts is debuting a new exhibition this week, “Illuminating Perspectives: Exploring Light in Innovative Art.”
It is the first exhibition envisioned and planned by the center’s new executive director, Serafina Palandech, who chose Georgie Friedman, a digital artist from Boston, as the juror for the exhibition.
“I really love digital arts, interactive art, and immersive art, so I wanted to engage a juror and write a prospectus that would inspire folks like that to submit their work for the show,” Palandech said.
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According to that prospectus, Illuminating Perspectives is dedicated to “challenging conventional notions of light across various mediums—painting, drawing, video, digital, film, projection, photography, sculptural and experiential. The show aims to create a dynamic dialogue between traditional and contemporary understandings of light, encouraging artists to explore its conceptual, scientific, emotional, and symbolic aspects.” Artists were invited “to explore the interplay between light and darkness, the duality of its existence, and its power to shape our perceptions and narratives.”
Ultimately, 250 artists from around the world took up the challenge and submitted their work; Friedman chose 47 of those for the show.
“I definitely first gravitated to pieces that were actually using light as the medium of the work because that seemed the most fun,” Friedman said. She said she also chose some pieces she felt would be popular with visitors. (Who doesn’t want to sit inside a glowing light sculpture!)
“There was also one that I thought was kind of conceptually funny – the “More Light” piece,” Friedman said. “Basically you put in a quarter and that makes there be more light. I liked it as a conceptual piece—it was kind of funny—but then also if you think deeper about it, something that should be free, like light, you have to pay for...So it worked on these different levels of conceptual and fun and then deeper if you go a little bit longer.”
There are several North Bay artists in the show.
Vallejo artist Stan Clark’s large glowing biomorphic blow-ups greet visitors outside the gallery and his Magnolia Starship—the one you can sit inside—has pride of place inside.
Santa Rosa artist Sena Clara Creston’s piece, Plastescape, was also accepted into the show.
“It's a series of installations that go together,” Creston said. “It's composed of The Huminal, The Plastic Garden and the Willow of the Waste. It's about this push-pull relationship that we have with plastic…we need it and we think it's helpful for us but it keeps being a detriment to us.”
“The piece, in terms of its light and movement, makes it seem alive in a way that it calls us to it but then when we get there, it responds both in fear and aggression, and so we have to decide, ‘Is this for us?’ Is this an artwork that we can go and see and enjoy? Or is this a warning.”
Getting the gallery ready for this show required more preparation than usual. Reflecting the dichotomy of light and dark, half of the walls in the gallery have been painted black to better show off illuminated works. Half of the walls are white for pieces that depend on reflection or shadow or for the handful of more traditional paintings in the show that Friedman thought demonstrated an interesting treatment of light.
“It’s a really innovative show,” Palandech said. “We're excited to bring some new things forward in 2024, and I think it's a great way to kick off the year.”
The opening reception for the exhibit is Saturday, Jan. 6, from 4 to 6 pm in the center’s main gallery.
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