Today, June 15, 2019, neon works from eight recent graduates from Alfred University’s School of Art and Design in Alfred, New York, will be shown in an exhibition on New York City’s Governors Island. Curated by assistant professor of glass Sarah Blood, the exhibition, titled “Language of Light,” includes the work of BFA graduates Carissa Grace, Astrid Hunter, Bryanna King, Caroline LaCava, Natalie Schults, Olivia Piazza, Adam Taylor and Gil Travers, whose undergraduate study with Blood focused on light.
According to Blood, pieces were chosen based on what worked for the location, a brick mansion on Colonel’s Row. In a telephone interview with Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet, Blood explained: “We picked the most appropriate pieces, bearing in mind it’s not the White Cube, bearing in mind that it’s a very family oriented space. All the work has to do with interaction with space, whether that’s architectural space, dividing space or liminal spaces.” Some pieces engage with the exhibition space by changing their usual orientation—Hunter's "Long Light Tube", for example, was originally displayed vertically, but has found a new role guiding visitors through a corridor. Other works place familiar objects in new spatial contexts—Taylor’s "Urinal" transforms a closet into a neon bathroom, and Grace’s “Comforter” features a neon chain-link fence unfurling sideways from the ceiling to the floor.
Blood says she hopes the graduates’ first New York City exhibition will prove a helpful springboard into the professional world, as the city is a hub for both commercial neon and independent neon art. She also says the extant associations between New York City and neon make it the perfect place for experimentation with the medium.
“Neon’s having a bit of a Renaissance right now and I think bringing it to an urban center is really cool, especially since none of the works here are traditional sign writing, it’s all artistic interpretations of the material,” she says. “I think it’s a really nice tension having neon within an urban space that isn’t advertising anything.”
IF YOU GO:
“Language of Light”
June 15 - July 28, 2019. (On view Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 AM-5PM)
Opening reception, Saturday, June 15, 4 PM
408 Colonel's Row
Brooklyn, New York 11231
Editor's Note: An earlier on of this article listed Alfred's location incorrectly. The university is in Alfred, New York. The error has been corrected on 6/16/2019.