Art & Design

Saturday’s ArtBites to focus on light art

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PORT ANGELES — The rapidly expanding field of light art will be discussed during Saturday’s virtual ArtBites, which will feature several Port Angeles artists whose work is currently exhibited in Webster’s Woods.

The Magic of Light Art, the latest installment in the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center’s ongoing series, will include artists’ comments on working with light as a design element, and the “unique delights and challenges of exhibiting light art outdoors in this
climate,” in Webster’s Woods, said Jessica
Elliott, fine arts center executive director, in a press release.

The ArtBites discussion will be from 10 a.m. to noon. via Zoom.

It will include time for small-group discussion and for attendees to interact directly with the panelists.

Tickets to the event cost $12 and can be purchased online at pafac.org.

Ticket-holders will be told how to connect to the meeting.

Proceeds will go toward supporting the arts center at 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.​

Lighted trend

The fine arts center’s Wintertide Light Art Experience is part of a growing trend of lighted art events in major cities and smaller communities across the globe, and the Webster’s Woods sculpture park’s rugged terrain and natural setting make a unique and striking environment for exhibiting light art, said Sarah Jane, the center’s gallery and program director.

“Most light art events take place in a more urban landscape, but here the art interacts with — and contrasts against — the lush depths of the second-growth forest,” she said.

“I’m not aware of anywhere else you can experience lighted art in a setting like this.”

The Saturday morning “coffee house” conversation will feature three panelists, all artists: Loreen Matsushima, Michael Mills and Jane.

For more than 40 years, Matsushima has drawn inspiration from the natural environment — first in her native Hawaii, and more recently here in the Pacific Northwest, according to organizers.

Her sculpture, “Phylogeny — Night Glow,” envisions the evolutionary process as a large, luminous plant form rising up from the forest floor.

Mills is an author, artist and instructor at Peninsula College who “brings a nuanced understanding of art history and design to the conversation,” organizers said.

His “Mondrian Tower” incorporates plastic toy blocks “in homage to mid-century design ideals including geometric forms, primary colors and modular structures.”

Jane curates the Light Art Experience program. For this winter’s exhibit, she drew inspiration from Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson to create “Reflect — Refract — Disperse,” an environmental installation that creates a nighttime rainbow effect when viewed from the right angle.

The Wintertide Light Art Experience features an exhibit of outdoor lighted artwork on display through the end of February in
the 5-acre sculpture
park surrounding the gallery.

Eleven lighted sculptures and art installations are tucked amid the more than 100 other artworks in the park collection.

“It’s about light and luminosity becoming a medium for creativity and expression,” Jane said.

“We’re used to thinking of light as a way of seeing something else, so it can
be a little mind-bending trying to look at the light itself.

“Suddenly you’re seeing a whole new world of reflections and shadows that you never noticed before.”

Tours offered

Jane leads “curator’s-eye-view” tours of the
11 installations on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

The 50-minute tours are available for groups of up to six at a time.

Prices start at $30 for a group of two. Leashed,
well-behaved dogs are welcome.

Visitors also can tour Webster’s Woods on their own from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily. They are urged to dress warmly and bring small hand-held lights.

A park map showing trails and sculpture locations is available on the arts center’s website.

Elliott adds that this year’s display is a result of recent infrastructure improvements in the park.

“Thanks to our lodging tax grant from the City of Port Angeles, we were able to install two power boxes on the city-owned park, Elliott said.

“Such an investment allowed us to add trail lighting for safety and security but also, to expand and continue to develop our outdoor light art installations throughout the park.” ”

For more about the fine arts center, see pafac.org.