Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries

Erwin Redl: Line Fade

Academic Year: 
Sunday, September 13 to Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Miami Valley will get an astonishing glimpse of art innovation in September when the Robert & Elaine Stein Galleries at Wright State University brings two high-tech art events to the region.

Beginning Sunday, Sept. 13, the Robert & Elaine Stein Galleries will be transformed by an LED light installation by world-renowned artist Erwin Redl. The high-tech art experience continues the following Friday with a sound collage performance by the Minneapolis-based duo Beatrix*JAR at downtown Dayton's c{space. Both Redl and Beatrix*JAR use technology to create arresting art experiences. The exhibition and programs are presented by Dayton Power & Light Foundation and supported by the Ohio Arts Council.

About the artist

The Austrian-born Redl is known for his computer-controlled, large-size light installations incorporating light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and optic fibers. Using the abstract visual language of virtual reality, his light installations transform architectural spaces into intense corporeal experiences. His first such installation on the façade of the Whitney Museum for its 2002 Biennial Exhibition turned heads in the art world.

This is the first major Ohio exhibition of the LED work by Redl, who recently moved to Bowling Green, Ohio, from New York City.

So what will the installation look like? The installation will encompass the Lower Gallery and Cantelupe Gallery, an open two-story design more than 25 feet tall with almost 3,000 square feet for Redl to fill with light. For the pop culture-minded, Redl's work might bring to mind the movie Tron or Atari video games.

The left brain might see exquisitely engineered space, while the right brain might feel the sensations of visual magic as the rows of LEDs seem to change configurations as the viewer moves through a 3-dimensional column of light. Redl's blending of left- and right-brained approaches comes at a time when young creatives, engineers and entrepreneurs have launched several initiatives to use Dayton's artistic and engineering resources to jump-start new industries and improve quality of life in the region.

Before his work with LEDs, Redl created digital environments on the computer. Seeking a way to immerse the audience in a digital environment, Redl discovered use of LED lights in the large installation format became an environment of its own, a landscape of points on a grid. Light is his medium.

Redl describes his work as "completely abstract and without content, but the light is so intense and the forms so archetypal that it becomes a mirror for people to project their feelings onto."

The site-specific installation will also include a rare exhibition of Redl's drawings. Dayton Power & Light Foundation is the presenting sponsor. Stefan Chinov, associate professor of art and art history at WSU, is curating the exhibit.

"This show comes at a moment when everything that it will incorporate, from new aesthetics to low-energy light sources, is loaded with a great significance," Chinov said. "While engaging cutting-edge tendencies in art and technology, including computerized installations and energy-saving materials, Redl's work allows for a direct and lucid interaction."

His "articulate use of technology and his remarkable command of sculptural structure in space will incite enthusiasm and new ideas among students and the community," Chinov said.

Redl's exhibit opens September 13 with a public lecture at 2:30 p.m. and a reception to follow.


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