Open Sesame: Art, Books and Objects

Thick With Light

These sunbursts begin 150 million kilometers from Earth and have travelled through dust storms, gravity, and ice to land on the forest floor along my route. At this hour, the air is often intensely moist. The light lingers, looking so thick that its density seems impossible to grasp. Yet a mere second or two later, it is gone from a particular spot. So many things—from a solar flare to a tree branch—can shift in this environment, which is what makes the light show so capricious.

This exhibition of twelve paintings is a small tribute to the phenomenon that is the sun, its relationship to the forest canopy, and the impossible task of making a painting from these experiences. Paint is opaque, thick, smelly, slippery, and mineral—about as much light's opposite as anything can be. It requires a good deal of labour just to push it around the canvas. In other words, it is completely the wrong material to
render something so fleeting. I sense the density of the light is my cue. It seems visceral, like a lump, for the few second it appears in front of me. When I understand that the sun itself is an agglomeration of entangled atomic and magnetic activity that radiates in all directions in the form of solar winds, then the weird transience of light starts to feel like matter.

I feel a strange urgency to witness this dappled light in the forest. Yes, it is beautiful beyond belief. However, forests are becoming rarer organisms at this point. I need to be reminded often that this light show not only has a function but might be less available in a not so distant future. Light is thick indeed.

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