Biennial neon exhibition lights up the night

April 16, 2013

by Susannah Brooks

Photo: neon sculpture exhibition

Visitors look at neon sculptures of lawn mowers at a previous Neon and Illuminated Sculpture Exhibit at the Stock Pavilion.

Photo: Jeff Miller

Light makes art possible: the interplay of shadow and saturation, a dull matte finish or a brilliant glow from inside. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the country's oldest university glass program finds ways to illuminate and refract light in thousands of different ways.

UW-Madison has often hosted luminous displays of sculpture by artists from across the country, all using the medium of light. This year, the invitational 2013 Biennial Neon and Light Exhibition will take place from 6-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 19-20. Held at the indoor Stock Pavilion, 1675 Linden Drive, the exhibit is lit only by the art itself.

The art is as varied as the light it emits. In the 2011 show, held in a rural outdoor location, giant pushpins and barcodes outlined in neon shared space with iridescent fingerprints, ghostly human forms and eggs lit from within. This year, JiMaoC4, an art and design collective including students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, presents a piece consisting of used car windshields and text executed in neon.

In addition to UW-Madison artists, as well as independent artists from around the country, participating artists hail from schools including the Alfred University School of Art and Design, Pratt MWP, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens Point, UW-River Falls and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.