June 04, 2019
December 15, 2019
Honolulu Museum of Art
Humans have been manipulating light for centuries, enhancing architectural spaces with features such as the stained glass window. This exhibition focuses attention on three works from the museum’s permanent collection that rely on the element of light as an essential visual component. HoMA is one of only six museums to own one of Thomas Wilfred’s “lumia,” his name for his lightbox assemblies, and this is a rare occasion to see his Convolux, Opus 160 (1965). One of the most innovative artists to work with light as a primary medium in the first half of the 20th century, Wilfred influenced later generations of artists who experimented with the effects of light as a primary medium. In Constellation (1984), an imposing sculpture fabricated from wire mesh, Bay Area artist and influential educator Richard Berger uses a single lightbulb to illuminate a portion of the work, lending the piece a sense of mystery and suspense. Tony Oursler’s 2012 Roman à Clef incorporates video and audio to create a crafted view of his surrealistic and surprising narrative on human relationships.
Thomas Wilfred (American, born Denmark, 1889–1968)
Convolux, Opus 160, 1965
Oak, translucent screen, lightbulb, motor, glass, colored gels
Gift of Clare Boothe Luce, 1968 (3527.1)