Carol Salmanson at Mixed Greens | Review by Jill Conner
Diaphany (2008) by Carol Salmanson took advantage of the short days during the last fall and winter and appeared inside the windows of Mixed Greens Gallery. Salmanson's piece sought to give light art, and light sculpture, a different context by connecting it to the city's urban terrain along West 26th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues, by allowing viewers to observe from afar. Similar to the medium of sound, light is not itself an object that fits easily within the scope of conspicuous consumption. Additionally Diaphany reduced the spectre of light to a series of colorful, intersecting surfaces that seamlessly piece together an abstract image that harkens back to Piet Mondrian's abstract geometic painting titled Broadway Boogie-Woogie. (1942-43)
For this particular project, the artist utilized an array of technologies that were couched within a long, narrow space roughly 2-feet deep. Yet, the visual effect that Salmanson created easily gave one the impression that this installation was configured throughout the entire gallery space. Since light sculpture generally needs a dimly lit environment to succeed, Salmanson juxtaposed Diaphany with the cycle of natural light outside. In doing so, the artist did not put her work away within the dark corner of a non-descript gallery interior but rather, turned it outward toward the street at night.
Light, as an artistic medium, began as a supplement to the mundane light bulb in the early 1960s, requiring specific wiring and placement in order for it to function correctly. The overall concept was curtailed to structural restrictions. However due to technological advancements, light sculpture now has the potential to address formalist issues of space, color and contour. Diaphany served as a painting in pastel-colored lights that suggested a non-existant, utopian space while standing in physical contrast to our own. Carol Salmanson is presenting a new light sculpture in Mixed Greens' current 10th Anniversary Exhibition.