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Opticks

Aug. 30, 2013 - Nov. 13, 2013

As the title suggests, Drake's fall exhibition looks at the various ways in which contemporary artists are employing the use of light in their works. Similar to the themes explored in Isaac Newton's 1704 book, Opticks, the installations in this show present light in some of its multitudinous forms, shifting from tight, almost sculptural beams in some works to being refracted into delicate rainbows in others.

Opticks opens with an installation by Daniel Hutchinson, whose monochromatic paintings are revealed to have a shimmering, colourful surface when lit with fluorescent light.

In the lobby, Maryanne Casasanta's spare installation of photographs addresses the subtler properties of light. Angular shadows are cast onto white walls, sparkling fabric glimmers as it is stretched taught over knees, and bubbles are iridescent in a pot of simmering water. On adjacent walls, Sandy Plotnikoff takes this theme one step further with two site-specific abstract works made of foil that reflect the entire visible spectrum. The works have an almost kinetic quality, appearing to change colour as one moves around them.

In the back of the lobby, Jay Shinn presents an installation that is a careful balance of paint and light. From a distance, the piece appears to be a sculptural object, jutting out from the wall, but it is in fact a geometric pattern painted directly onto the wall and augmented by the focused beam of a gobo, a device that manipulates the shape of emitted light. Glittering in two corners of the lobby are foil works by Sandy Plotnikoff, walk around them and the colours change dramatically. While in the cafe, James Nizam's stark black and white photographs continue this theme, capturing focused beams of light that have the rigidity and presence of sculptural objects.

With thanks to the galleries that supported this exhibition: Angell Gallery, Marty Walker Gallery, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Birch Gallery.