After experiencing the Arctic’s midnight sun and polar nights, London-based artist Jessica Rayner found inspiration in the role of light in human life.
“This [experience] made me question what happens when our main source of light — the sun — isn’t available to us?” Rayner said via Skype at the launch of her Faces of Light exhibition at Taipei’s Bluerider Art Gallery on Saturday.
Her first solo exhibition in Asia is an attempt to answer that question.
Photo: Sofia Kuan
Light, darkness and color all work together in her collection to show how they shape the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us. Visitors on Saturday were mainly drawn to the diverse uses of dancing lights and hues in all the pieces, and the strong emotions these convey. Throughout all her works, Rayner uses inanimate objects like orbs, lenses, glass and prisms to capture images that are impossible to see with the naked eye.
The series Awareness of the Light shows Rayner’s ability to draw on the surrounding environment as a means to create art. Visitors to the gallery are welcomed by four aluminum canvases etched with what seems to be a dancing rainbow, but are, in fact, a large plastic Fresnel Lens, a kind of prism, hung in front of a window. She allowed it to dance as the sun’s rays broke through it, capturing a choreography of movement and color.
Rayner also brings the viewer back in time with the Before Newton series. These are gray scale glass paintings that are meant to represent how people perceived objects and light before Newton’s discovery of the color spectrum.
The images are more jagged and geometrical in comparison to the rest of the works but they strongly suggest a time when concepts of light were more rigid.
“Everything has a history and story of process and that is something that I’m very interested in with my work,” Rayner said.
In her series Afterimage, Rayner experimented with the change of light throughout the day by photographing square prisms using a Polaroid camera and different filters. The resulting images are colorful yet unclear and off-focus, but purposely so.
Rayner said that her pieces are an attempt to communicate feelings and states of being that are open to interpretation rather than straightforward messages.
At a time when much of the media we consume is over processed and leaves little room for the imagination, it’s refreshing to encounter young artists like Rayner, who employ an abstract yet unpretentious approach.
“Nothing is objective, we are constantly evolving,” Rayner said. “I want [my art] to be more of a mood and an experience and the idea that we are in the midst of a long history. We are here just for a moment in time.”
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