Glass and light are forever entwined. One of the simple but glorious properties of glass is how light dances around its surface, bleeds through its form and color, and creates life in the darkness. The two often depend on each other for visual revelation in the material world, and artists and innovators combine both to create new wonders. This fall Richmond galleries and exhibitions showcase a range of new visions in glass and modes of light, including electricity and sunshine.
Photography is based on a unique collaboration between glass and light, and two especially relevant photography exhibitions start the arts season. Page Bond Gallery showcases Michael Kolster ambrotypes, which are photographic images on glass created by the wet-plate collodion process, through Sept. 29. Kolster's landscapes, "The James River Project," question how we affect and also are shaped by our environment. Likewise, Candela Books and Gallery offer a chance to witness the destructive power of the sun with Chris McCaw's "Sunburn" through Oct. 27. McCaw exposes black-and white-photo paper to the sun, which allows the molten star to burn a mark into the paper.
Then 1708 Gallery will play host to artist Sören Hüttel from Denmark, who shows his light installations in the exhibition "Space Time Colour Eclectic" (Oct. 19-Dec. 28). Hüttel creates light sculptures that coexist with found and handmade objects in an effort to illustrate the complex relationships between light, form, color and space.
Meanwhile, on Oct. 20 the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will open a major solo exhibition of the renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. The exhibition will include well-known works, like "Persian Ceiling" and "Ikebana," as well as some new site-specific installations on the museum's grounds. The museum intends to exemplify how "Chihuly's art remains at the cutting edge of the technical and virtuoso possibilities of glass as a medium."
Inspired by the Chihuly exhibition and probing the avant-garde possibilities of glass, Reynolds Gallery will open a group exhibition, "Heart of Glass" (Nov. 2 to Dec. 21). Focused on the use of glass as a primary medium in contemporary art, the exhibition will include new work by artists such as Dan Clayman, James Hyde, Sally Mann and Sarah Mizer.
If that's not enough to light up your fall, the annual "InLight Richmond" will take place on Nov. 2 along the Broad Street arts corridor. This marks 1708 Gallery's fifth year facilitating the one-night public art spectacle, which includes light-based work by artists in varying media and disciplines.
Leaving behind glass and light, there are several important fall exhibitions focusing on abstraction. Virginia Commonwealth University's Anderson Gallery hosts "Early Abstractions," exhibiting midcentury paintings by Judith Godwin, a Virginia-born, New York-based artist who has honed her abstract visual language for more than 60 years. The exhibit continues through Dec. 9 in conjunction with an overview exhibition of her career, "Gesture," at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (through Jan. 27). The museum will also open a photography exhibit on Nov. 7 devoted to early photographic forays into abstraction, taking its cue from the seminal 1951 Museum of Modern Art exhibition of abstract photography curated by Edward Steichen.
Let there be art!