Month: March 2014

Explorations in Light

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Did you know that the newly reopened Exploratorium – beautifully redesigned at San Francisco’s waterfront pier 15 – has over 50 exhibits alone specifically on LIGHT?

Exploratorium shots

Among these wonderful exhibits, you’ll find a fascinating exploration of light by artist Bob Miller, creator of the “Light Walk” experience (as well as numerous other exhibits there) – in addition to his online series of short talks/essays about light and images. One essay’s intro on differing aspects of light begins with this apt description;

“You can be light-hearted, light headed, light-fingered, or light on your feet. You can make light of things, bring secrets to light, or hide your light under a bushel. You can be quick as a flash, moving at lightning speed. You can seek the bright lights or trip the light fantastic. You can see the light and achieve enlightenment – or you can be completely in the dark.”

Check out more here:

I also enjoyed his brief comments about how light works during an eclipse – – this will be the subject of Amy Murray’s upcoming collaborative piece for the show…


Altered Paintings – Silver Lining

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show card
satorial improvements to hare by artist, Emily Bonnes

What do you get when you give 90 artists a mass-produced thrift store piece of art and ask them to breathe new life into it? Redux Studio and Gallery in Alameda posed just such a question, the results of which will be on display next month. I have submitted my entry which – of course, having the subject of light as its focus – is titled Silver Lining.

Redux is organized around the principles of creative reuse, and its efforts help fund St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County’s important social programs. This project represents the larger purpose of Redux, illustrating how interesting ideas can support a larger social mission and dialogue. The Altered Paintings Projects demonstrate that great things are possible when communities come together. I am thrilled to be participating along with another 50/50 LIGHT collaborator, lighting designer Gil Stancourt.

Opening reception for Altered Paintings 2 – Friday, April 11th 6pm – 9pm

@ Redux Studios & Gallery, 2315 Lincoln Avenue, Alameda, 510-865-1109.

Monday – Sunday 11:00am-6:30pm

The Power of We

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Over the past few months we’ve begun work on a number of the collaborative pieces that will become part of the 50/50 LIGHT gallery show this October. A recurring theme in the conversations as we’ve worked is this; the collaborators have been sharing their project with other friends, and it has become an ad hoc vehicle for community building.

mask detailOne collaborator tells me that each of her friends and neighbors have made a habit of stopping by and contributing ideas and/or input, and it has influenced elements of her design and expanded her awareness of the piece. She looks forward each week to them seeing and weighing in on its evolution, and the meaty discussions that ensue.

It thrills me to hear this; to hear about the excitement the project is generating, and the ever-expanding ripples it’s creating throughout the different communities.

We’re in an age where it’s become more popular to self promote, compete, and get as much of a leg up as possible over the next guy rather than to work collaboratively. It’s important to realize the importance of working together to build real and lasting strength in our communities . Bringing ourselves into new, unusual, and unexpected combinations, building something that becomes greater than the sum of its individual parts, this is the goal well worth pursuing.

As the wonderful Japanese writer, Ryunosuke Satoro, said “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.


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pastel stick colors

Color = Light.

Visible light, that is. All colors known to man can be found in the visible spectrum of light. On the longest wavelength/lowest frequency/lowest energy end we have RED, spanning across to the shortest wavelength/highest frequency/highest energy end with VIOLET (along with orange, yellow, green and blue in between).  So, radio waves (plus infrared and microwave) have the least energy, and gamma rays (plus UV and X-rays) have the most energy, which is part of what makes them so dangerous to humans. The whole range of frequencies and energies is called the electromagnetic spectrum.

light spectrum

Visible light occupies only one-thousandth of a percent of this spectrum.

Humankind’s attempts to recreate color in the natural world date back as far as our oldest civilizations, the early Paleolithic period, aprox 350,000 BC – where the first pigments, or pure color in powdered form, were suspended in a medium to make paint.

cave painting

“The world in which we live is teeming with color: the sky, earth, water, and fire all have distinct colors. From time immemorial, we who delight in such perceptions have tried to reproduce these colors in our day-to-day surroundings. What could be more normal? For color is the child of light, the source of all life on earth. The challenge in finding materials capable of producing lasting colors in the world around us has preoccupied humankind from prehistory to the present day. ” quote from Colors: The Story of Dyes and Pigments by Francois Delamare & Bernard Guineau


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Seung Mo Park

Many artists have been the inspiration for a number of the featured pieces being created for the upcoming 50/50LIGHT project. One of the most subtle yet profoundly striking examples is the work of Korean artist, Seung Mo Park. His transcendent pieces exemplify a most-admired technique in the formation of art: coalescing simple, utilitarian materials with visionary talent and ingenuity to create the sublime.

The end result astronomically exceeds the sum of its humble parts.

Seung Mo Park works with layer upon layer of flat stainless steel mesh sheets. Painstakingly cutting away thousands of individual wires to reveal an underlying image, he transforms something fundamentally 2D into something 3D – an illusion with great depth and presence. Most are personal, haunting and reflective, others slyly dynamic. All are breathtaking. (Be sure to watch the step-by-step video documenting his process.)

Nina Katchadourian, Lavatory Self-Portrait in the Flemish Style #11, 2011

Another visionary of illusion and subtlety is artist Nina Khachadorian.  Nina came to my attention as a family friend of my in-laws – who recommended I see her fascinating show here in San Francisco at the Catharine Clark Gallery in 2012 titled “Seat Assignment”. The show – produced over the span of 70 airline flights – features a multitude of self-portraits created only with A.) materials readily available to passengers on commercial airplanes – mainly bathroom paper goods; and B.) her cell phone camera.

The results are deceptively convincing works that – at first glance – appear to be reflections of 15th century Flemish portrait subjects. But look more closely…