Asylum gallery opening
Into the light
Asylum gallery have been busy turning a disused building into a warren of small artist spaces, some are in individual rooms and some are more open plan, which are shared spaces. Tonight, was the first time the studios have been open to the public adding to the sense of anticipation.
Each artist had their own studio space open with a wide range of art to see, including photography, sculpture and print, but what stood out was that visitors gravitated to the light like moths around a lamp. The studios which were lit with the usual studio lighting or standard household lighting tended to be passed through, with visitors having a look and then continuing on, where as the studios that were lit with either candle light or special effect lighting not only drew more people in, but kept their attention for longer. Visitors would wonder back through the other rooms, but then return to the spaces that had been lit more creatively
The two defined areas of interest were Caitlin Doherty’s candle lit space, where she had overly sized nudes painted directly onto the wall with clay, the candlelight added a different atmosphere to these paintings, casting strange shadows and highlights. The images seemed more raw and powerful in the low light conditions, they held peoples interests and they lingered in the space
The other space was a studio room of the artist Ewan Johnston, who paints in neon paints, he had also lit his room, there was candle light in one corner and the rest of the room was dimly lit with uv black light, this firstly made his paintings glow and secondly caused anything white that the visitors might be wearing to also glow, this dual effect also captured peoples imagination and they stayed in this studio looking at the many different paintings for much longer than they had in other rooms that had displayed paintings.
Was it the subject matter that had drawn people into both of these spaces or was it the light, the candle light of the one studio was very different to the uv of the other, but they both drew people in and both rooms had the same people returning during the evening, in a way in which the other rooms did not appear to, the light seemed to create an atmosphere that people were drawn too, standing looking at and chatting about the art work that was displayed in these rooms. Whilst this was not an intentional experiment in people’s reaction to light, it seemed to very clear that the light was having an effect on the viewer and how they viewed the work.
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