Light and Landscape (May 12 — November 11, 2012) features work by fourteen artists who use natural light as an essential artistic material, much as they would use marble, paint, or wood. They take inspiration from the sun, moon, and stars; from lightning and fire. Their works highlight not only the visual experience of natural light, but also its vast impact on our daily lives and ecosystem. Fugitive by nature, the light harnessed here — by, among others, Anish Kapoor, Tobias Putrih, and Alyson Shotz — changes throughout the day and during the course of the exhibition season. Other artists take a conceptual approach to natural light, translating its energy into other forms; the light is their point of departure. Spencer Finch’s Lunar uses solar energy to power a lunar module; the confetti released from Katie Paterson’s miniature cannon is matched to the colors of gamma-ray bursts. Projects by Peter Coffin and Diana Thater assess the effect of sunlight on animal life. Coffin’s Untitled (Bees Making Honey) comprises tours of an apiary at the outskirts of Storm King’s property; Thater’s Composite Sun is inspired by her work on behalf of dolphins.

Light illuminates our days, and so time, too, becomes a pervasive and important theme. Works by Matthew Buckingham and Katie Holten remind us that the sun is our original and ultimate marker of passing time, and ask us to consider the distance between its cultural and geological meanings. William Lamson and Anthony McCall offer the summer and winter solstices as occasions for artistic investigations, while works by Roni Horn and Donald Judd reward the careful and patient viewer with their subtle luminous effects.

Storm King Art Center provides an inimitable setting for an exhibition about light, and its 500-acre landscape has proven inspiring to many. Ten works on display are site-specific, or made expressly for this exhibition. The exhibition is interspersed among Storm King’s permanent collection, both inside and out.

When it was founded, Storm King focused on the radiant, sublime vistas created by the painters of the nineteenth-century Hudson River School. Light and Landscape honors this chapter in Storm King’s history by presenting contemporary artists who continue the work of these predecessors, considering natural light in ever-new ways.

— Nora Lawrence, Associate Curator