Saturday, October 11, 2008

Light:craft Symposium

The Light:craft symposium, on Wednesday 8th October, was organised by the Crafts Study Centre and was part of the ongoing Urban Field series.
In his introduction Bob Martin, Visual Arts Officer (Crafts), Arts Council England South East, spoke of his ongoing interaction with light through ceramics, glass and shadows. One of the images of shadows that he showed was Dail Behennah's Perspex Cube with Pebble Sphere, 2006 (right). I just love this piece, the play of light, the tones within the pebbles, the shapes formed by the shadows, the spatial relationships of the pebbles, the fact that the shadow is an integral part of the piece, there's so much there that appeals to me.
Laurie Lea took us on a tour of her long term interest in how light affects form and form affects light. She began with the single human form and gradually abstracted it down to squares and circles. Transparency allowing light to flow through a piece and imperfections that allow light to escape offer many possibilities for exploration. Her latest works (above) are of voids in cast glass that are then lit with brightly coloured fluorescent light. Photographed in the beach-side ruins of an old hospital they are highly evocative of time and place.
Peter Freeman is a creator of light sculptures and installations which have a high level of resonance for me. This beacon is situated on the Weston-Super-Mare junction of the M5. Comprising thousands of LED lights it is date sensitive and goes up in 'flames' on Bonfire Night, plays Space Invaders on Halloween and displays pink hearts on Valentines Day. It is always a point of interest to see what it is doing as we drive past on our monthly trips to Cornwall.
Another of Peter's installations is the lighting in the window of the Exchange Gallery in Penzance where the 60 meter long glass facade can be illuminated, with a barometric sensor controlling the changes in the light colours. The gallery becomes a place to be visited even when it is officially closed at night.
Poole Arts Centre has a cooling system that senses the build-up of CO2 and opens flaps to ventilate the building.
Peter took a feed from these sensors to control his exterior lighting. The illuminations are subtle and 'quiet' when the building is empty but become bright when it is full of people.
Tine Bech is a visual artist working with installation, sound, sculpture and drawing. Originally from Denmark she now lives and works in London. On the left is one of her experimental, mark-making, drawings. She likes to work with materials such as graphite and charcoal and then place them in the rain to get interactive marks and fields of tone that are often extremely subtle but at other time can be quite harsh.
Purple Membrane, (right), was designed as an installation to be experienced by people who don't usually go to galleries. The lit mist hovers over a swimming pool and as the light outside fades the colour of the mist intensifies. The purple of the mist is set against a really deep orange to heighten the contrast.
Tine is currently involved in Tracing Light as part of Farnham Creates. This will include a trail of lights through the town and an interactive illumination of the bridge to Farnham Maltings which will be triggered by people crossing the bridge. There will also be workshops at the Maltings including 'Drawing with Light' which can later be downloaded from the Tracing Light website.

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