Shadows and light

With light a precious commodity, winter is the perfect season for the Art Gallery of Winnipeg to present 18 Illuminations: Contemporary Art and Light. Curated by Corinna Ghaznavi and Carla Garnet, and circulated by the Tom Thomson Art Gallery (Owen Sound, Ont.), the exhibition showcases multifaceted artworks by 18 artists.

The idea of light has many meanings: warding off darkness, revealing what lies in shadow, offering insight. The materials and contents of the exhibition demonstrate these many aspects. Light emits from neon sculptures and glows from within lanterns and cylinders; it sparkles on hubcaps and reflects on glass; it is the essential component that reveals the photographic image. Where there is light there is shadow. Searching for light includes stumbling through the dark – a shaft crossing a face reveals both sides of life, suffering and joy, death and survival. The 18 artworks show how light and darkness both reveal and obscure. While a moth risks death, we nonetheless understand the yearning of Icarus to reach for the sun and accept that in trying to attain light we must also traverse the shadows.

18 Illuminations: Contemporary Art and Light runs at the Winnipeg Art Gallery from Nov. 24 to March 2, 2008.