the thing about ‘light’ . . .
is that, more than its myriad manifestations, infinite meanings & fabulous range of radiance /
as well as: motion, fluidity, and don’t forget . . . shadows !!
is the fact that it both . . propels, informs & yet foils – the would-be photographer.
this is a show – to view in person.

‘MORE LIGHT !’ / CHART GALLERY, TRIBECA . . . up thru JAN 7, 2023.

case in point: LUKE MURPHY vs. MARIKO MORI.

I know Luke’s piece, ‘STARLIGHT, WARM AND COOL’, must twinkle, rumble, roam, flood, and flicker,
because I know his work very, very well / but, a still photo – leaves us confronting a big, big mystery as to how this piece is ‘programmed’, how it ‘plays’ out – on its computer coded animated matrix.
even a video clip – doesn’t truly capture the work, as the LED color fights the camera all the way.
this is a world of condensed, animated, literal light – and, it doesn’t hold its breath for no one.

“warm and cool” . . is a hint of the incandescent color burst journey.
so is . . ‘starlight’ /
but with its finite, straight mechanical borders / those real-world hard steel edges,
it’s more like a ‘slice of sky’ – than a . . cosmos.
more a signal – than a planetary pulse.

which compels the comparison – to Mariko Mori.
her work in a strange, curious way, is not animated – and yet it speaks to cosmic vision /
bubbling up . . new baby planets ? cosmic plant life ?
“genesis” . . is surely a clue.

so, do I mean: Luke Murphy / signals vs Mariko Mori / conception ?
all I know is, I see: YIN YANG.
straight vs round.
the animated LED light pulses of Luke’s work – are contained, both by their programmed matrix, and steel structure, even repeating – in a loop.
whereas, the stationary composition of Mariko’s ‘painting’ / ironically conjures up: infinite motion. birth. and cosmos.
YIN YANG. as surely as the cat chases – its tail.

if anything ‘cosmic’, is to be said about Luke’s work, his LED creation of ‘scripted’ light / resembles more a man-made, or another unknown ‘sentient’ . . . construction:
I’m thinking a huge, huge spinning spacecraft / angular and skinny, far far off in the deep deep sky.

whereas Mariko is all femme: round, and organic . . as a pregnant belly.
with a chaotic, infinite illusion / vision . . radiatng from the stationary painted surface . .

Mariko’s piece feels more organic in nature / its light is . . plastic: opalescence.
an artist’s . . . skillful conjuring.
a planet’s surface – close up & personal ?
this painterly dome – ‘feels’ no more man-made / than a bubble on the surface of a pond.
there is serenity here, but it feels deceptive to me.
in a word: bubble bubble / trouble trouble.
it feels so minute, and yet so vast – and it can burst in the very next frame.

and, yet Luke’s ‘Starlight’ – also comes – home to us /
LED deli signs, neon signs . . light up every major city / and metropolis.
as well as, stadiums, concert venues etc. etc. /
projecting text info, typefaces, and the intermediate abstract ‘patterns’ swirling, a visual necessity for the comprehension of the ‘message’ /
pulsing colored light to capture – your mind, and mind-set.

look at the Luke Murphy LED DELI digital banner, ‘RESIST’ – that plays across the top of this page: and, blow it up – as big as your mind can imagine.
and, then take one minute . . to ponder how I can make colors light up, and patterns twirl, and words flow: words of action, no less !! that play across YOUR screen / via Luke’s technical magic / no matter where I am, and no matter where you are.

I guess one could conclude that LIGHT – is as elusive as a poem, and moves with the power of a ‘song’.
as NASA keeps on showing us / and, as the Bible told us: it all comes down to . . colored, moving ‘light’.

MARIKO MORI, ‘Genesis IV’, 2022.
UV cured pigment, dibond and aluminum / 63-1/2 x 3 in.
edition of 5 plus 2AP
image courtesy CHART GALLERY