OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma---JRB Art at The Elms presents works by Grace Grothaus Grimm in a solo show titled “Sunlit” alongside the group show “Brilliant: The Light Show.” The exhibitions open with a reception from 6:00 to 10:00 pm on Friday, February 5th, 2016, during the Paseo’s First Friday Gallery Walk and continue through Sunday, February 28th. Featured artists include Brett Weston, RC Morrison, JP Morrison, John Seward, Melanie Seward, Amy Rockett-Todd, Steffanie Halley, Derek Fitzpatrick, Beatriz Mayorca, Barry Snidow, Andy Mattern, and Klint Schor. Grothaus Grimm’s solo show features the artist’s unique multimedia artworks complete with changing light conditions, noise effects, and visual references to the history of still lifes, while “Brilliant” provides a meditation on the many-layered references to light in contemporary art.
Grace Grothaus Grimm’s inventive lightboxes almost refuse to be categorized. The artist herself calls them paintings, but then their main medium is not paint itself; alternatively they can’t be called sculpture. A viewer might first consider the work as a painting within an ornate frame, only realizing after a moment that the “surface” actually contains a diorama, of sorts. This distinctly 3D presence, coupled with a 2D viewing experience, endows with the work with a mysterious quality compounded in some works by moving parts, sound, and changing light patterns. Grothaus Grimm has said “my work is an investigation of blending traditional image-making with new technology.” Similarly, several of the pieces in “Sunlit” contain natural, plantlike specimens portrayed in electricity reliant environments, blending technology not only with traditional imagery, but with the natural world.
“Brilliant: The Light Show” hinges on the realization that all of our visual arts are indebted to light, be it in a natural or manmade source, direct or indirect, sunlight or heat lamp. Brett Weston, a magician of light, captured women’s bodies, plants, and landscapes all relying on remarkable shadows and light effects. Andy Mattern’s photographs depict one light source so constant most of us are unaware of its effect: a television screen, caught at the moment it powers off. Amy Rockett-Todd uses the antique method of pinhole photography to create images both made from, and imbued with, natural light. RC Morrison’s light sculptures (one an ode to the late Ellsworth Kelly) create light of their own by mimicking color field paintings to a sculptural effect, and his daughter, JP Morrison, paints a young boy’s world lit up in color, only by the field of his flashlight. Another father and daughter, John Seward and Melanie Seward, display their light-oriented photographs, while digital artist Derek Fitzpatrick creates a unique installation for the gallery, and Klint Schor’s light installation constructs a sunset the gallery’s window display. Works by these artists as well as several others included in “Brilliant: The Light Show” provide a meditation on the meaning and myriad appearances of light, both in art and daily life.
February’s group show was conceived from the notion that traditional photography, as a medium, inherently is light, and therefore that the photographic depiction of light or light-sources is essentially a double entendre. Drawing from that, sculptural works made using bulbs or other light sources themselves rely on the same twin function of light as medium and subject. To take the metaphor one step further, any work which depicts the form of a light source also figures into the idea of medium as subject; the idea of light in art is in fact a cyclical relationship between source, subject and result.