Ephemeral: Explorations in Light features dynamic installations and sculptures by Iñaki Bonillas (Mexico City), Elaine Buckholtz (San Francisco), Thomas Glassford (Mexico City), Won Ju Lim (Los Angeles), and C.E.B Reas (Los Angeles). These artists utilize the transient and elusive medium of light as an integral aspect of communicating content. Implemented for dramatic effect, to reference memory or employed as a strictly sensory experience, the works in Ephemeral explore the power of controlled light sources as mechanisms to predetermine the viewer’s visual encounter.
Museum visitors must enter the exhibition through Iñaki Bonillas’ Light Corridor, a long, narrow hallway illuminated by divided sections of warm-toned and cool-toned florescent tubes. The frequency of the light shifts as one traverses the sculpture, thus subtly affecting perceived temperature and mood. In Elysian Park, Won Ju Lim recalls an encounter with location, articulated through a combination of three-dimensional and projected elements. Multiple light sources create depth and scale, while the overall effect is one of ambient cityscape. C.E.B. Reas merges technology with the fundamentals of art, by creating software that generates fluid and delicate compositions that seemingly float above the floor like lit lily pads. Referencing Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings, Reas’ piece TI implements the computer as draftsperson, rendering infinite variations of forms akin to the organic rather than the digital.
Whether artificially projected or deconstructed into a narrow spectrum essence, this type of work contains great emotional power. One can reference the Chapel of Notre Dame designed by Le Corbusier at Ronchamps, Haute Sane, France, as light cascades through slot windows. According to Le Corbusier, “Light and illumination are inseparable components of form, space and light…Light renders texture, illuminates surface and provides sparkle and life.”