• I'm Jesse
      • My Birthday?
      • You Remembered!
• Pool? Animal Style!
      • Dumplings w/Neptune
• Sicilian Sculptor
• The Golden Years
• Human Hangers
• Just a Barista
• I Need to Dance
• Can't Stop Looking Up
• Be Careful What...
• The Collection
• Into the Light
• A Perfect Interview
• The Abbey
• Who You Know?
• What's This Life For?
• Unexpected Talent
• Just a Dog's Day
• Chester
• Darren
      • Darren and the Circus
• Voice of God
• Aaron
• 5350

• Resurrection
• Private Dancer
• Eye Contact
• Bullying
• The Surreality of It All
• Sound of Silence
• 31 Days of Christmas
• Giant!
• Fear or Comfort?
• You're Different
• Another One Bites...
• Stroll with the Clouds
• Walking with Banshee

Into the Light (03/03/21)

The Center is known for its galleries, both in the diversity of the art displayed, and also in the innovative methods in which some of the art is shown. Since the Center is driven by artists and their work, when an artist accepts the offer for a show at the Center, they have a lot of say in the manner in which their art is displayed, and we do everything we can to guide and accommodate.

Some artists are extremely hands-on with their options, and we follow their lead to the letter, with some guiding suggestions from our experienced and dedicated gallery design experts along the way. Other artists leave the display completely to our staff.

After our initial consultation we provide the artist with renderings of the suggested display, get their approval or changes, and move forward from there.

One particular artist was more overwhelmed that her art was going to be on display at the Center and that she would have an ‘international’ art exhibition and opening, and left the display of her art completely at the discretion of the Center staff. That allowed our designers to have full reign, and to use all of their creative talents to best represent her art—and take it a bit further.

It was decided that she would have two rooms for her art.

The first room would allow for pure, un enhanced display. This room ended up following the ‘core’ design of the Center’s galleries; pure white walls with spot lights on the art, and overhead lighting for the overall gallery space.

Her art is extremely colorful and detailed, and the white walls allowed for her art to stand out noticeably. The 24 pieces that were displayed were in a variety of sizes, framed and unframed. On its own, the room was a beautiful space to view and contemplate her unique creativity.

The second room, well, the designers decided to go to the extreme and take her art to its fullest potential. They went with a complete black space, with art only lit by customized spots. Upon completion, all of us would have the surprise of our lives when we brought the artist in for her first viewing of her exhibition space.

Several days prior to the show opening, the artist arrived, and we began our journey into her two-room show. She was in tears as we walked through the first room that displayed just her art, in its raw form. Her art definitely held its own and was stunning to view. So far, we were successful.

We then proceeded to walk towards an opening in the far wall of her first room. The opening was in the form of those ‘dark room light maze’ double switchback entries so that no light from the first room entered into the second room. All we had to guide us were glowing blue lights on the floor, that flashed when they wanted to encourage you to move.

We all entered the second room and had gathered at the spot where the blue floor lights had stopped flashing. We could sense we were surrounded by much more in the space, but in the total absence of light, exactly what we were surrounded by was a shear curiosity.

Then it started. A thin beam of light appeared on the wall we were facing at the bottom of a canvas, and as we watched, that beam of light grew from a thin, singular line, to an expansive, full sized light that displayed this stunning, colorful piece of art. It was truly breathtaking.

There before us was a canvas representation of her art, sized up to a 4 ft by 6 ft canvas, and totally illuminated from a directional spot from above. Though her art was spectacular on its own in the previous room, it took on another life in this format.

The blue lights on the floor proceeded to move another dozen feet over to another spot, then once again stopped, and the process began again. Another thin beam of light growing to envelope another radiant piece of art on the wall.

This process took the group around what was an 8-sided room, so that at the end of the experience, 8 surreal canvases were in view with their piercing colors, shapes, and textures displayed in brilliant form.

The group, including the artist, stood in silence looking at the works on the wall. There were tears streaming down the face of the artist.

She began to utter a few words, and one of our design staff put her finger up to her mouth, saying ‘shhhh, the best is yet to come.’ At first I was a bit put-off that one of our staff had just told the artist to be quiet, but as we were asked to turn around and focus our attention to the center of the room, I realized my anxiety over my staff’s behavior was unwarranted.

Another thin beam of light filled the very bottom of what appeared to be an extremely colorful, circular and transparent piece of art. As with the other canvases in the room, that beam of light began to expand upward, and with it, both the center of the room, and all of the surrounding space began to fill with vast swatches of intense color.

The beam of light kept expanding upward, and it became apparent this circular piece of art was more than just the normal height of a gallery space. It kept climbing up the center of the room to over 30 feet in height, revealing an extremely tall exhibition space, with a 30 foot translucent and radiant piece of art filled with light.

I looked around at the group, and all of our staff, including the artist, were standing gazing up towards the ceiling with looks of pure astonishment on their faces. It was truly amazing what stood before us. All of her art had been combined into a vast, 30 foot tall, transparent column of pure color.

I looked over at the artist, who still had tears streaming down her face, and simply asked what she thought. We had taken her creativity to a completely new level, and there was the possibility that our designers had gone too far. In my opinion, that was not the case—but I was not the artist—it was in the end, her call.

“Wow, this is all beyond comprehension! I never imagined my art could take on a life like this.”

I still was not sure whether that meant she was happy with the creative liberties we had taken, but as she walked towards the center of the room and touched the column of light, her sheer amazement that the column was a vast piece of color-filled glass expressed her satisfaction.

We had worked with another one of the Center’s artists who specialized in painted glass to create a custom glass tube that was blown exclusively for this exhibit. This extra attention to an artist’s exhibit was part of the core tenet of the Center; to assist with the advancement of emerging artists.

After quite a few minutes of the artist wandering around the room, looking at every last detail of the space, she was asked if everything met with her approval and were we ready for the opening?

“Yes, this is so much more than I ever anticipated. It's stunning.”

As we exited the black room and stood in the contrast of the completely white room, a transition that was not left unnoticed by the artist, one of our staff was showing the artist a video of the installation and testing phases of the exhibit.

“Can we include this footage in the exhibit?” Most definitely, that would be a captivating addition. We installed a large screen and looped the footage with closed captions.

Several days later, and multiple visits by the artist to, as she put it, soak it all up, the exhibit was ready for its opening night. We anticipated a good crowd, but were overwhelmed by the response and the number of participants. Thankfully our kitchen staff accommodated the increase—you never want to run out of food at an art opening!

Due to the response, we increased the 30 day run to 90 days.

Unsurprisingly, the glass column was purchased on the opening night by a large corporate buyer purchasing it for their corporate headquarters in Irvine California, where it stands to this day, along with all of the canvases that were on display in the ‘dark room.’

After the exhibit, we offered a residency to the artist, and were graced with her presence for a full year of stunning art created by her at the Center. It was a successful adventure for all involved.


#art #opening #reception #darkroom #residency #light