Maraya Art Centre in Sharjah presents Liquid Light, British artist Chris Wood‘s 1st institutional solo exhibition in the UAE. The exhibited works play on the relationship between water and light. The show will be open until 30 June, 2023.
Chris Wood calls herself “a light artist”: she uses various kinds of high and low-tech materials which enable her to manipulate the light in many ways and reveal its magic. To create her minimalistic installations, she uses pieces of dichroic, which is, as she says, “the most incredible description of the magic of light”. Developed by NASA in the 1960s, dichroic glass is covered with an uncoloured optical coating: it reflects particular wavelengths of light and lets the remaining ones through. Thus, rainbow-coloured shadows and projections are produced. Often arranged on a panel or wall, Wood’s art pieces evoke organic patterns: helices, murmurations, and others.
The Liquid Light show features Wood’s new works she made being inspired by the view of the river near her home in Cambridgeshire, the UK. In the exhibited arrangements of dichroic and water-filled vessels which play with shadow, the artist explores the mesmerising visual dialogue between water and light. “I just want to reveal them in all their glory,” Wood said, speaking about the exhibition. “[…] When people have seen my work, they […] see light in a different light. It would be nice if they did that with water too.”
Apart from having her art being displayed in Maraya Art Centre, Wood also presented her permanent sculpture Flutter located on Al Noor Island. Two metres in diameter, it comprises a disk of white Corian (a material made of acrylic resin and minerals). Small panels of dichroic glass protruding from each side harness natural light to cast geometric shadows and patterns that change throughout the day. To create the sculpture, Wood drew her inspiration from her memories about a murmuration of starlings she once witnessed. The artwork also pays tribute to migration of painted lady butterflies. It is a reference to the Butterfly House Pavilion on Al Noor Island, where over 500 species of these insects are kept.
About the artist
Chris Wood (b. 1954, Newcastle, England) is a light artist residing in Cambridgeshire, England. In 1988, she graduated from Middlesex University, where she studied 3D Furniture Design, and in 1990, obtained her MA in Glass from the Royal College of Art. There, she developed large-scale projects that experimented with light. In 1989, Wood undertook a Pilkington Glass research project and received a scholarship to work with architectural glass artist James Carpenter in New York.
Wood has worked on multiple public artworks and significant commissions in London, Washington, Paris, Taipei, Riyadh, Sharjah, and Dubai. Among her commissioned works are the ones she created for Fendi Fashion House, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Rosie Maternity Hospital, Premier Inn Hotel, and a luxurious Scandinavian cruise ship. Her art has been featured in several important public collections and art institutes: the Shanghai Museum of Glass, Yale University, Taiwan’s National Exhibition Centre, Adobe, as well as private collections in Europe, America and the GCC.
The artist has had her works featured in many exhibitions, such as Artplex Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, the USA (2021-23); Laura Rathe Fine Art, Dallas, TX, the USA (2019); Hafez Gallery, Abu Dhabi, the UAE (2018); Hafez Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (2018); Mixed Summer Exhibition, Byard Art, Cambridge, the UK (2018); Shadows and Light, Byard Art, Cambridge, the UK (2017); and others. Wood also received several awards, including a Siltint Industries Ltd material grant (1999) and The Junction award (2001). She was selected for both The Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries (2000), and the Hunting Art Prizes, Royal College of Art (2002).
To learn more about Liquid Light, please visit the show’s official web page.
You might also be interested in visiting Daniel Buren’s exhibition “L’Horizon, Infiniment, travaux in situ et situés”.