Text art seems to be popping up everywhere these days in a multitude of diverse forms, although the use of text in art is inarguably not a new movement. However, when it comes to using words in visual art, several artists of different ages and sub-genres have found ways to burn their words into our brains. The pieces featured here have real stay-power. Whether the artist employs a blinking pattern between words, such as Bruce Nauman does, or draws rawly from their cultural background and related personal experience, such as Glenn Ligon and Patrick Martinez, these works deliver a very contemporary message. With simple language, and a sometimes poetic-sometimes brash- sense of honesty, these neon text-based works transcend many other works of text based art made today. Artists featured here include: Bruce Nauman, Patrick Martinez, Tracey Emin, Jill Magid, Glenn Ligon, Robert Montgomery and Jung Lee. The works speak for themselves- yet we encourage you to read between the lines.
Uta Barth uses photography to capture her own personal dreamy moments with light, and in doing so, exposes its environmental power over our solitude and romance . . . or romance with solitude.
As a viewer, I find myself drawn to the window, the curtain, and the wall in each piece, not only because it’s illuminated accordingly with sharp visceral attention, but also because I’m intrigued with how the mundane awakens. It feels childlike, reminiscient of a world without technology and other busy distractions. Ironically, or maybe not so, it also feels wise– close to death. There’s drama in the little details as the hand pulls back the curtain or the camera approaches the glow. It’s not so much about being a voyeur as it is about being here and being still– sharing the space where light opens into mood and reflection.
Of her work, Barth notes, “In most photographs the subject and the content are one and the same thing. My work is first and foremost about perception.”
To say these pieces are only about composition: space or pattern, would be to ignore the aura around the intention of these images, which are all shot inside her home– there’s a depth that resonates with an almost intrinsic documentary feeling. Unlike James Turrell, she does not appear to be mathematically immersing us in the immediate moment of light and awareness; instead, she’s quoting from the lightness in her own life, and we are privy enough to bear witness.
This short video by French artist Marc-Antoine Lucatelli features dancer Lucas Boirat as he uses his body to manipulate an image of shape-shifting geometric light that is sourced from his hands. The energy behind Boirat’s dancing paired with the abstract energy of light gives this video and these gifs the effect of a push and pull between Boirat and the light. Boirat seems to dance to effect the balance of power between light and shadow, with the light ultimately returning to dust at the hands of Boirat. These modern martial arts inspired dance moves paired with the dreamy experimental music of EdIT create an experience that feels at once primal and futuristic. I find myself completely engrossed with Lucatelli’s video and the way he beautifully captures this stunning power struggle. (via my modern met)
We are comparable to moths. This is what I think Bernardi Roig is doing with his mixed media pieces: allowing us to see our own attractions to the glowing lights brought forth with the Information Age. From computers to iPhones to tablets– our desire is instinctual or . . . mindlessly animalistic. I’m thinking here also about near death experiences: going towards the light. Remember that iconic scene from Poltergeist? Carol Ann. This too. It’s not about where our bodies gravitate or evolve, but how we speak to the light and what we leave behind as we travel towards it.
Blending the natural with the artificial world is Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s bread and butter in photography, and this applies not only to his staged documentary subject matter, but also his lighting. Whether it’s incorporating neon signage, cheesy ballroom glowing fixtures, another camera’s flash, or even a hidden light in the pavement, each technique helps shine a light on the ordinary as extraordinary from business men to hustlers– the majestic glow does not discriminate.
So, before the day gets too stressful, let’s relax with a little meditation on each powerful mesh of light. Feel free to share your own favorite lighting tips or tricks in the comments as well.
Night Stroll is a new digital short from Japanese filmmaker Tao Tajima. In the film, quick moving abstract light patterns pulse through otherwise quiet Tokyo streets. The light patterns are impressively realistic and almost resemble the light painting of still photography. Bright bursts of shapes are reflected in wet streets and cast shadows from behind trees and street corners. Though there is little information regarding the film’s production, Tajima seems to have skillfully created the light patterns digitally. He executes a simple idea very well – simple but realistic light dances as if it were alive and alone in the city. Check out the video to see what the GIFs only preview.
The artwork of Hans Kotter is decidedly centered around light. Here Kotter creates tubes of lights that appear to stretch on infinitely into the wall. He uses color changing LED lights that shine behind a warped one way mirror. The backing mirror then duplicates the LED lights infinitely. Kotter’s piece are continually changing as the color of the lights gradually shift and as the viewer moves about the room. Though technically constructed from Plexiglas, mirrors, and diodes, it is really the light endlessly bouncing between the mirrors that compose Kotter’s work.
Catching and throwing light from all the right angles, the peculiar, prismatic acrylic pieces from sculptor Phillip Low look like something from outer space. Tip-toeing on the line between art and design, these objects make excellent use of the medium—giving a sense of weight, depth and cellophane-like luminosity to the dense material. The expertly carved shapes combine crystal-like angles and precise areas of coloration to create a series of constantly-shifting reflections that use simple daylight to dazzling effect.