Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lighting up Art

This week, I was fortunate to attend a tour of Asheville artist Heather Lewis's work at the Asheville Area Arts Council. There, Heather showed us some of her newer paintings and then down to the basement to see her newer work with light. I had never been down to the basement of the Arts Council. It is an interesting space, unfinished and without good lighting, that is perfect for Heather's installation pieces. Starting from scratch, she utilizes the space well, creating her own lighting, and using the great space for her unique and impressive installation pieces.

Heather's work is inspired by the mechanisms and products of industry. She is both inspired and troubled by the products that are created en mass, for the masses, taking them as her point of departure to comment on their mundane status and to make them into something different, through stenciling and light, so that their existence is made apparent to us as viewers, their everyday status is no longer disguised in routine.

It is a remarkable approach. She uses sardine cans and tires as stencils in her paintings; her "Objects from a Kitchen Drawer" light installation utilizes telephone cords and scotch tape, projecting them on the wall so they are transformed into something different and stripped of all practicality. When I asked her about one stencil she said it was made with a banana split tray from an ice cream shop. Yum!

I went home and looked at all of my kitchen appliances differently, mesmerized by the artistic potential hidden in the practical and the everyday.

To see more work by Heather Lewis, visit her website here.

Images from the Asheville Area Arts Council installation- 2009.

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