All the LIGHT You Can See

Chromatic transformations in long distance dialogue


One of the things about contemporary art is that it is, in fact, contemporary. The SCAD Museum of Art up in Savannah is almost always worth the two-hour drive straight up I-95.

This summer, the museum has mounted a particularly impressive suite of solo shows. Of special interest are the works in an exhibition of Carlos Cruz-Diez's chromatic provocations. Cruz-Diez primarily works in the realm of color theory and intervention-as such, his works are chromatic studies that seem to change color and move, depending on the viewer's position and eye movement in relation to the image.

These works are especially interesting in light of MOCA Jacksonville's newest atrium installation, by Gabriel Dawe, Plexus No. 38. Dawe is garnering international attention for his extraordinary use of simple materials in an ongoing series of formalist explorations into color and light: an exploration of the full visible spectrum of light. Dawe uses sewing thread and hooks to craft abstract, somewhat architectural renderings in the air that seem to shift as the viewer shifts her/his position in relation to the work. As Alicia Ault wrote, "It is almost as if the artist embroidered the air."

Like Cruz-Diez, Dawe makes experiential works. However, in leaving the boundaries of Earth, Dawe has not only made light visible, but tangible, too. Seeing both artists' works within days of one another adds depth to both experiences and makes whole the argument for those artists who chose to operate within a more formal aesthetic.

For more about Gabriel Dawe, check out our recent interview with him.

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