In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness till a lone mighty voice said, “LET THERE BE LIGHT!”. It can be the command of God or you just paid your utility bill then they switched your power on. Nevertheless, no one wants to be in the dark and most certainly not in the art world. Last February 12th, AF came to the illuminating show of German artist Regine Schumann and we were certainly delighted to Look Into It. Her light sculptures were graceful geometric light sabers that cut through the thick darkness of art ennui. Finally a show that will bring us to the light and it was atmospheric and visually stimulating in its moody sexy vibe.
You enter the space and for a split second you thought that you entered some club masquerading as an art gallery but upon closer observation the luminous glow of the acrylic boxes confirmed its validity as meticulously crafted pieces of art. The bars of parallel panels evoke the minimalist style of modern art like a jazzed up Donald Judd but Schumann imbues a more delectable and quieter palette. It is colorful but it does not shatter the quiet blanket of the darkened room. The allure of her work stems from how the panels react to the black light that emits the prismatic punch that buzzed all throughout the space. You were drawn to the soft emblematic glow or watching your silhouette on the reflective surfaces. It does force you to look into the lighted pieces. Schumann was very precise in manufacturing all her panels to specification, which informs me that the bar is set very high. This attention to detail elevated the mere simple boxes that jutted out of the gallery wall into sublime works of art.
Is this lucent alchemy conjured by Schumann a magic spell to weave us into her oeuvre? Perhaps but she allows individual experiences to be contingent on how one perceives her glow in the dark sculptures. Our eyes process color and light differently form the other person. One could be conditioned to be drawn to a dominant color or take in one detail rather than the whole piece. Such things are trivial and mind boggling to deduce to a simple explanation, which is precisely why these latest works by Schumann succeeds in its quiet power.
Dark and light are opposing forces yet an indivisible pair that cannot divorce from each other. Schumann manages to marry the two in placid harmony. The transition from dark to light is not garish and therefore alluring to the senses. It is with this calibrated balance by the artist that we’re drawn to look closely and deeply hoping that what reflects back is as beautiful and complex. Now that is downright sexy and better than fifty shades of grey.
Regine Schumann: Look Into It / On View: February 12 – March 21, 2015
Gallery Hours: Tues – Fri (10 am to 6 pm) & Sat (11 am to 6 pm)
De Buck Gallery. 545 W 23rd Street. NYC, NY 10011
Art Review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Photography by: Olya Turcihin