Building the Lightbox AP1

I have built a large Lightbox, at 4ft tall and 3ft wide, the general size of the box reflects the limits of my own bodily gestures, reaching my height and arm span. Each element of the box has been handmade, the wooden interior structure, the perspex cut to a particular size, and the reflected edges being carefully placed.  The interior light is created using bight electric mains LED’s. I have incorporated several influences from previous research and painting exploration, mainly the plying of the paint across an impermeable surface.

A large percentage of my exploration with surface and paint mainly focused on its flatness. I had to consider how I wanted the paint to inevitably ‘sit’, and how I was going to get the paint to pool and spread as I would like. My original design focused more on the layers of colour, rather than the mark making within the paint. I found it very difficult to get the paint to evenly pool across the surface, having to instead intervene with a large squeegee. I chose acrylic as my medium, due to its flexibility when testing mediums. I was able to use a mixture of translucent stains and brighter pigments that vibrate on the synthetic plastic surface.  When applying the paint, I had to adapt my technique due to the lack of absorbency of the surface. I used a hybrid method of letting the paint pool in some areas, and pulled the paint around using a large squeegee tool mirror the working of Richter, Reed and other abstract painterly styles.

Throughout the process of layering paint onto the perspex sheets, I kept reflecting how the box would look as a complete unit in the space chosen to exhibit it in. I needed to consider how the paint layers were going to interact, making sure that I was achieving the greatest spectrum of colour I could manage. I collected any material I found that used colour to attract a particular response from the viewer: an encounter of conflicting colours that create a discord of perception (all imagery I have collected can be seen on my blog, linked below). I decided that I wanted this piece to sit alone, a monolith type object sat in the exhibition space.

The use of low budget materials feeds directly into the low-fi nature of early space travel as well as the makeshift/gatherer quality of survival and working in an art school. The beams of bright colour acting like a lighthouse, beckoning and immersing as they viewer surveys the exhibition. The fluidity and vibrancy of the pigments I used created a highly bright, vivid piece.

A main criticism would be the lack of any other surrounding structures that I had originally planned. I worked too closely with the one piece, forgoing those other structures that would have been placed in and around the exhibition, popping up around others work. If I had worked on several light boxes, I could have created a more vivid environment that pulsed with colour, not just one single object attempting to do the job that 3 or 4 other boxes could have achieved.

I would also tweak the placement of my box within the exhibition space. Instead of having the main front facing directly outwards, straight into the line of sight of any viewer entering the space, I would rotate by 90º to illuminate more the exhibition. The ‘back’ of the box is shining directly onto a large back wall, which creates a kaleidoscope of colour against it. However tweaking the movement would allow for the back to be seen more directly by the viewer, as well as creating a more dramatic lit backdrop for the other pieces in the show.

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