Luminous Visions: Phillip K. Smith III and Light Across the Collection
California-based artist Phillip K. Smith III creates light-based installations that explore the relationships between light, color, space, and form. His work Flat Torus 4, recently acquired by the Toledo Museum of Art, is one of a series of nine torus-shaped works in which the artist creates a digital display of colored light (a torus is a three-dimensional geometrical form shaped somewhat like a donut). Using computer software and LED lights on a translucent acrylic support, Smith choreographs the precise color, brightness, and pace of change seen within the work. The artist describes these color-shifting installations as highly specific three-dimensional canvases that he “paints” with light over time. The effect is a mesmerizing display of gradually transforming and undulating rings of colored light.
To mark the significant acquisition of Flat Torus 4, this exhibition considers the work alongside objects from the Toledo Museum of Art’s collection that span time, culture, and media and explore the theme of light from a wide range of perspectives. These perspectives include the importance of light in religious or spiritual practices; studies of optics and color theory; applications of translucent and reflective materials; studies of light at different times of day; “Luminist” approaches to light in American landscape painting; the absence of light; and photographic explorations of light and shadow.