All this May sunshine and “The Sibs Exhibit”—which features new art by siblings, Michael Van Hout and Brooks Koff—has got me thinking about light.
Art is a lot about playing with light, and also, of course, light’s sister, shadow. Master painters and photographs know that light is the real medium. This is certainly true of Koff’s stained glass and Van Hout’s wire sculptures. However, in this case, it is about light passing through an object as opposed to creating the image of one.
Something about that notion strikes me as particularly intimate, because art is the filter that allows a viewer to visit the world of an artist’s mind. With these glass and wire pieces, there is both an emotional passing through and the literal passing through of light.
With Koff’s pieces you enter a vibrant, saturated world that is not like other stained glass universes, because the lines are not straight and the texture is varied. It makes the work more organic and animated. Sometimes the glass flows like water; other times it bubbles or sparkles. In Blue Skies, the Van Gogh-esque swirls trace the flight of a dragonfly. In Tea Pot, steam rises in choppy strokes, whistling with visual urgency. All this movement changes in varying degrees of daylight, leaving me with novel impressions all afternoon as I work in the gallery.
Then there is shadow. When the light shines through Van Hout’s wire sculptures, the shadows they cast let you know they are alive. I love to watch them move along the walls and the pedestals where they sit. I see spirits of pelicans and turtles fly and swim. I see the Grateful Dead sway and swagger to the silent music that is light itself.
What’s more is that you can interact with some of these sculptures by cranking a handle. The wings and fins flap and the so do their shadows!
It is this sense of play that is so special about the exhibit. It invites you into the dance, and you can become a child once more, open to possibility, casting your own story onto the world.
There will be a closing reception for “Sibs” on Friday, May 26th from 6 to 9 p.m.
But I invite you to please come and see it on a sunny afternoon when those two siblings, light and shadow, are busy chasing each other through the gallery.