10 Artists Who Work With Neon
Keith Sonnier’s edition for the Whitechapel Gallery takes as its starting point a drawing study for his iconic series of works Ba-O-Ba, one of the artist’s four major works on display as part of his Whitechapel Gallery exhibition, Keith Sonnier: Light Works.
Ba-O-Ba is a series of works started by Sonnier in the late 1960s, which the artist continued to work on throughout his career. Based on the Greek mathematical theory of the Golden Ratio, Sonnier combines circles and squares with geometric shapes such as aluminium bars and neon tubing. The title derives from Haitian French dialect in Louisiana for ‘bath of colour’ or ‘light bath’ and refers to the effects of the rays of light against skin.
Printed with a combination of digital-pigment and silkscreen print onto aluminium and mounted directly on the wall, this new edition typifies Sonnier’s use of industrial materials and luminous colour. Visible traces of under drawing sketch out Sonnier’s thought process, whilst dashes of neon colour sit on the surface of the work echoing the spontaneous mark making of the original drawing.
Signature: Edition of 20, signed and numbered verso
Image rights: Copyright Whitechapel Gallery
Produced as part of the exhibition 'Keith Sonnier: Light Works' at the Whitechapel Gallery, Summer 2016.
Keith Sonnier constructs his distinctive abstract and semi-figurative light installations out of neon tubing. Often labeled a Minimalist, Sonnier places bright colors and sparse lines together in ways that heighten the lights’ reflective qualities in a given space. Inspired by both his birthplace of Louisiana and the cultures and geographies he encounters in his travels, Sonnier’s sculptures combine hi-tech industrial materials with organic or corporeal themes. For his “Herd” series (2009), Sonnier used lights and curved steel supports to create free-standing animal sculptures resembling the wildlife found in Africa.
American, b. 1941, Mamou, Louisiana, based in New York, New York