Light- source of all life here on earth and the most fundamental of all materials. Yet it is also the hardest to conceive of as an individual unit. Made up of photons it is the product ironically of what it passes through rather than what it is. Light both pervades and evades; wave and particle. It is light that is the muse of Material: Light, Messums Wiltshire’s new exhibition, where its ephemerality and diverse meaning are encapsulated in a specially commissioned installation.
Continuing a materials based theme that has successfully run through our programming in the past year, Material: Light will feature ‘Vision II’, a 5m x 5m x 2m light installation by David Spriggs as a sole illumination set in our 13th century monastic barn in one of the most ancient inhabited landscapes in the country. Immediately inspirational yet purposely philosophical and contextual to age old celebrations around the turning point towards a lengthening day. ‘Vision II’ celebrates the experience of light as well as evoking one of our most elemental of relationships.
Born in Manchester, England, Spriggs now lives and works in Vancouver and is well-known for his large-scale installations through which he probes the symbolic, cultural and historical significance of light. Spriggs received his Bachelor or Fine Art from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 1999 and his MFA in sculpture from Concordia University in 2007. His work has been shown nationally and internationally.
There is a non-denominational universality about our relationship with light. People of all faiths and none recognise this entity’s miraculous, life-giving authority and continued to be dazzled by it. As such, Spriggs’ work has been presented in a number of countries, captivating audiences of all cultural backgrounds. He prefers to leave open any specific meaning leaving the individual to appreciate and attach his or her own personal consideration to the work whilst recognizing that by doing so they in turn are sharing a common bond. ‘Vision II’ is thus particularly suitable for this auspicious time of year, a time to be with family and friends to celebrate what is important for each and every one of us.
Light is also especially pertinent in the context of the landscape immediately around Messums Wiltshire. Light informed the architectural alignment of Stonehenge in accordance with the sun’s passage and archeology has demonstrated that ancient dwellings where set to an alignment in concert with the trajectory of the sun from its rising in the East. These examples serve to indicate how bound the lives of our distant ancestors were to the light sources of the sun, moon and stars. In the modern day, light still holds the key to the Romantics’ ‘sublime’, invoking awe and terror alike at the inspiring impossibility of life.
Running concurrently with the show will be a programme of talks about light including a lecture concerning the science of light in the arts. An outreach programme for children and those in further education will complement Material: Light, in order to understand the significance of light both culturally and materially within the context of David Spriggs’ installations.
The show will be accompanied by an exhibition of cutting edge contemporary glass art in The Long Gallery adjoining the barn. Messums Wiltshire was established in September 2016. Since then it has had 50,000 visitors from around the world. Following a programme that is as adventurous as it is diverse, from contemporary performance to ceramic pots Messums Wiltshire is one of the most exciting new galleries in the UK.
Messum’s Wiltshire is a pioneering multi-purpose gallery and arts centre celebrating the creative endeavour.