Laser Artist

L is for Laser
Artist’s Statement

L is for Laser header photo of laser lumia

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L is for Laser is a collection of five pieces of laser art with a central alphabetic theme. This exhibition combines my use of lasers in art with my interests in wordplay, language, and typography.

As many of the museum’s visitors are children it is important to me to appeal to this age group, hence the references to spelling mnemonics. The interactive element should appeal to everyone, as will the pure colors, abstract kinetic patterns, and overall impact of this immersive experience. Looking about the gallery, you will see all the walls and ceiling covered with spectacular swirls of laser light.

There are several dichotomies and contrasts of experience here. There is a tension between the patterns that are random in the microcosm, yet controlled in the over-all design. Looking deeply into the lumia reveals fractal-like patterns containing regularly-spaced dark bands among the brighter areas. These are called “interference patterns”, a phenomenon rooted deep in physics whereby refracted light collides with itself and periodically cancels itself out. The underlying science may be impenetrable to the viewer, but the results add much to what is experienced in terms of complexity of vision.

Another contrast is the hardware that produces the art. The lasers themselves are high-tech optics devices that produce the purest possible light and the straightest of lines. They are housed in containers comprised of simple lunch boxen which are modified in my studio, and the whole is McGyvered into projectors of exquisite kinetic art. Once the high-tech meets the low, and the photons hit the glass elements I have hand-crafted into my engines of light, the magic happens.

Large vs. Small: projected art can be as large as the venue permits, yet the patterns are created by tiny spots of laser light hitting slowly moving bits of custom cut glass. Small adjustments result in big changes. Quantum-level shifts of photons in the laser diodes lead to mega-changes on the wall. The lasers start straight but hit circles of diffraction – art ensues.

The final bit of duality is the use of words in the piece. "C Linguistics" uses lasers to project laser-generated words and phrases through a scrim and onto the ceiling. The scrim makes the letters appear to float in space un-tethered; then the verbiage hits the ceiling and is anchored there, fading in and out randomly. Words are simple and definite; laser projections are vague and infinitely complex. This is a mashup of left-brain/right-brain, cerebral /sensual, and simple/complex.

My artistic focus has always been concentrated on the interplay of art and technology: primarily the interaction between the audience and light. I try to raise light to its purest level, illuminating our world in novel ways to inspire and awe the beholder. And what better way to condense the perfection of light than by using lasers - monochromatic until combined, linear until artistically altered, coherent until molded by esthetic enterprise.

A purity of color, a movement of line and form, a brightness to rival the natural noon; that is my direction.

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