A Baltimore Gallery Offers Multicolored Monuments to the Beauty of Light

May 10, 2016 10:22PM
Mirror Drawing 730, 2015
C. Grimaldis Gallery

Walk into C. Grimaldis Gallery and you’ll be bathed in heavenly glows. For “Light/Licht/Lumière,” the Baltimore gallery focuses on artworks that transform light into a multicolored medium for artistic play and experimentation. In this group show, five artists use an abundance of light bulbs and reflective surfaces to give form to light and examine its ephemerality.

Pitiful, 2008
C. Grimaldis Gallery

Many of the sculptures on display are reverential monuments to the beauty of light. François Morellet’s Pitiful (2008) is a towering 21-foot-tall sculpture made of glowing neon tubes. As the delicate tubes dangle from the ceiling, they seem to form a line drawing in space.

Similarly drawing-like are Jan Van Munster’s argon-based wall pieces. Though the squiggly, intersecting tubes might seem like experiments in formal composition, they are in fact visual translations of the artist’s own brainwaves. Van Munster wields light, making the invisible (one’s own thoughts) visible.

Other artists explore the ways light can distort our sense of space. Annette Sauermann’s Light Tower (2011) uses concrete as a foil to the airiness of pure light. With its glowing green fluorescent panels, the “tower” feels like an architectural model for a futuristic cityscape.

At first glance, Chul-Hyun Ahn’s sculptural intervention appears to be a portal in the center of the gallery. Peering into the boxlike structure, one sees a ladder leading to endless depths. In reality, however, the sculpture is an illusion: Ahn uses mirrors and light bulbs to suggest impossible architectural feats. If Ahn’s work flirts with the fantastical, it is not without a sense of longing for what lies beyond, with light guiding the way.

—A. Wagner

Light/Licht/Lumière” is on view at C. Grimaldis Gallery, Baltimore, Mar. 24–May 14, 2016.

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