Light Sculptures - Illuminated Manuscripts

'There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in ' - Leonard Cohen

 

This series of work explores the coded languages hidden within pattern. Using light and perforated wood or metal, I create light boxes to tell my stories. I have created my own lexicon with light, inviting the viewers to see and imagine their own worlds within my organic or geometric compositions. 

 

Light has many associations : it is equated with life, and when people die we often talk about following the light.  Similarly, our awareness can be seen as the light of the mind, and death can be seen as the snuffing out of the candle flame. 

Having to have an X-ray of my skull led to an interest in representing the experience using light. The process of being X-rayed is to be penetrated by radiation resulting in an image rendering what is hidden beneath the surface.  I echo this process by cutting through the wood with a laser to reveal the image of his skull. The laser-cut wood is then turned into a light box and the image appears as light. Thin slices into the wood create a holographic image rather than a singular coherent image. As the viewer shifts position, so too does the image. 

 

In the Illuminated Manuscripts series, I take the wood grain as a departure point and use other processes to amplify the voice of the wood. The process of making wood veneer involves spinning a tree trunk and shaving a continuous sheet of wood, or individual sheets off. The wood veneer can be seen as parchment or scroll, and its grain as text. Through scorching, staining and drilling hundreds of holes into the wood surface, I explore ways of translating the wood into a story about itself.

The ‘Constellation’ zinc light sculptures installation consist of metal panels with hundreds or thousands of individually drilled holes that create abstract compositions that resemble the night sky. In as much, the composition is both random, and at the same time something we can project order and meaning onto.

I see pattern as one of nature’s languages... full of rhythm, movement and poetry. My attention is drawn between seeing the wood grain itself, and reading into it whatever associations arise. There is no definitive translation; the object is held perpetually between being seen and being read.

These sculptures transform as ambient light conditions vary and with the shift from day to night.

 

 © garthbowden 2019 

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