Seeing the Light: Illuminating Objects
"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." -- Anton Chekhov
How do we perceive light on objects? As reflection, illumination, glow, radiance, shimmer, shine, or luster? For designers and artists the luminosity of materials is endlessly fascinating. The inherent transparency or reflectivity of surfaces heightens our experience and attracts us with their seductive quality. Frank Gehry's Fish Lamp glows from within, Beatrice Wood’s pottery has lustrous surfaces, and the shiny stainless steel of Sebastian Errazuriz's Chaise acts like a mirror. Diverse objects selected from the museum’s permanent collection and from private collections demonstrate the boundless fascination of the expressive power of light.
Using examples from midcentury to contemporary designers and artists, we examine how the chosen materials and media reflect light or illuminate. An out-sized globe designed by Robert Wilson for a stage production of Einstein on the Beach and the striking fabric, Magnum, designed by Jack Lenor Larsen for a theater curtain, each illustrate the drama of radiance. Modernist sculptor Harry Bertoia’s work, Golden Bush, uses copper and bronze to create a stylized natural form, while artist Jennifer Steinkamp mesmerizes us with her video of a hauntingly beautiful tree as it revolves through the four seasons.
Glass artists Dale Chilhuly, Angelo Barovier, Kait Rhoads, and Karen Bexfield demonstrate the seemingly endless possibilities of glass to merge color and light. Jewelry in gold and silver designed by artists Fletcher Benton, DeWain Valentine, and Lynda Benglis, and crystal-encrusted shoes by Debra Hovel reveal how personal adornment is fascinating. Mylar wall decals by Jim Isermann will create an environment in which this exhibition of diverse, luminous objects captivates us.
This exhibition is organized by Palm Springs Art Museum and funded in part by Presenting Sponsor Renova Solar.
A+D Center Exhibition Sponsors: John Boccardo and Derek Esplin
Media Sponsor: The Desert Sun
Exhibition Season Sponsors: Dorothy Meyerman and Marion and Bob Rosenthal