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ASU art grad students collaborate on a light-inspired exhibit

Three perspectives on the medium of light are explored in "Optical Control"


Lizzy Taber sets up her artwork for "Optical Control" at the Harry Wood Gallery in Tempe on Saturday Sept. 30, 2017. 

ASU's Harry Wood Gallery is exhibiting "Optical Control" from Oct. 2 to 6, showcasing the differing perspectives of light from three art graduate students: as part of time, as an object and as fire.

"Light is something that we are seeing all the time, but we don't actually think about it as being a physical presence," Louise Fisher, an art graduate student, said. 

Fisher discovered that she and her colleagues have a similar affinity for light in their artwork and wanted to combine their ideas into an exhibit.

"After getting to know them after that first year of grad school, I realized that we all have some common threads in our artwork," she said. "I just asked them if they wanted to have a show that was loosely based on the theme of light because we all use some aspect of light in our work."

Light as: part of time

Fisher's work on light focuses on human interaction with time and sleep and how light affects people. 

"In my work, I'm really interested in the cyclical nature of time," she said. "I've been working with the idea for years, and now its kind of turned into researching circadian rhythms and sleep cycles. My work does that in different ways, but primarily (through) photography and printmaking."

Fisher said one of her pieces consists of photographs taken with pinhole cameras exposed to artificial light throughout the night. She said a pinhole camera will also be on display for the viewer to see at the exhibition.

"I was setting up pinhole cameras around my brightly lit apartment complex for eight hours while I was sleeping and ended the photograph before the sun came up," Fisher said.

Light as: an object

Lizzy Taber, another art graduate student and collaborator on "Optical Control," uses her art to focus on the use of light as "an object and as a medium," she said.

Taber said she focused her work on how light looks in different environments.

"I went to Iceland this past summer and I saw the midnight sun, so a lot of my work has been directly inspired by it and that kind of celestial phenomena," she said.

Using a photography process called cyanotype, Taber said she took pictures of the midnight sun to bring back with her.

"I really was thinking of a way that I could bring the sun home with me, so I brought the chemicals with me to Iceland and I captured the midnight sun that way," Taber said.

Light as: Fire

Anthony Mead, also an art graduate student and the third artist in the show, said he took his inspiration from fire and human interaction with it.

"A lot of my most recent work has had to do with fire," he said. "So I think about fire being a medium of light, but also being something in which we constantly engage with and as a transformative force in the process of human evolution."

Mead said the vast topic of light is the lens through which all three of the artists' works came together and addressed these different areas.

"Even though we each have our own body of work that is being showcased, there is also this common denominator that runs through all of it," he said. "I think what we are trying to focus on is that (light) is not super specific and that the broadness is really important."

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