Friday, October 18, 2013

Bruce Munro: Light at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens


Bruce Munro: Light at Franklin Park Conservatory is an amazing new exhibition right here in Columbus!  It began on September 25th of this year and will be on view until February 8th 2014.  Bruce Munro is a light-based artist from the United Kingdom with over 30 years of practice working with light as an art form.  This is Bruce Munro’s third solo U.S. exhibition, having previously exhibited at Longwood Gardens and Cheekwood Gardens.


The exhibition contains ten large art pieces with several smaller gallery pieces.  The best time to view the exhibition is at night and the Conservatory has special evening hours Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 5:00–11pm with some select Saturday evenings.  Night is when the art really shines (quite literally!), but I think the pieces are beautiful during the daytime as well so I included some daytime photos in the slideshow at the end of this post.  

I also included two photos of the Artist's Statement, it's interesting to read Bruce Munro's thoughts about the Conservatory and about how he keeps track of his ideas as an artist (in a sketchbook).  Mostly though, I wanted to share what he compared the Conservatory to: the TARDIS!  How cool is that?  


All of the artwork is absolutely gorgeous and it's such a neat experience to be in the Conservatory at night.  I tried photographing every piece I saw, some are easier than others to photograph.  Chindi was very easy for me to capture, Field of Light was much more difficult!

Two pieces include music or sound, my favorite example of this is Water-Towers, located in the Bonsai Courtyard.  Water-Towers includes twelve 7 foot tall towers comprised of one liter plastic bottles full of water and optical fibers.  Music plays from these towers and the light in each tower changes in response to the music.  The combination of the rhythmic light changes and music is calming, almost meditative.  This was by far my favorite piece in the entire exhibition!  I took a lot of photos of this piece, it kept changing and each color combination was beautiful!

The other piece to include sound is Lightning Storm in the Pacific Island Water Garden biome.  Dead fluorescent bulbs are suspended throughout the biome and flash periodically and are accompanied by the crashing sounds of thunder and rain.  It feels like you're in an actual thunderstorm - without getting soaked!

There are several other pieces that alternate through a repertoire of beautiful colors.  Giant Snowballs (located in the Grand Atrium of the Conservatory) cycles through calming pastel colors.  Eden Blooms display tropical, bright colors, which is fitting since this piece is in the Tropical Rainforest biome.  

Bruce Munro: Light is a fun and unique special engagement, I highly recommend it!  You can learn more about the hours, cost and more information about the artist here.