The Backpage: Night 'Light'

Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:50pm
By Ashley Akin, City Paper correspondent
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Bruce Munro's 'Light' (Photo by Martin B. Cherry)

 

It’s hard to explain Bruce Munro’s Light without sounding like a starry-eyed little girl.

“Magical” and “fairyland” were both overheard as the lights came on Tuesday night at Cheekwood, but “oooooh” was by far the most accurate description of what it felt like to be there.

Light is a collection of outdoor and indoor art installations that will soon cover Cheekwood. Made up of more than 160 miles of fiber-optic cable, 10,000 water bottles and tens of thousands of lighted glass spheres, the exhibit is only the second appearance of Light in North America. It took Munro’s team from Wiltshire, England, 6,500 hours to create.

Munro said that on his first visit to Cheekwood he knew it was the place for his next exhibit. Looking out over the gardens, a “Cheshire Cat” smile spread over his face, and he just said, “Yes. Yes, yes, yes.”

As “Field of Light” came to life last night, that smile was contagious. Slowly — like fireflies beginning to appear — the glass orbs flickered on in every color of the rainbow.

For some reason it brought to mind The Wizard of Oz — the enchanting field of poppies, the transforming horse of a different color, the vibrancy of the Emerald City. (See? Twelve-year-old girl.) And that’s just the first exhibit.

Now Munro’s team is constructing the rest of the installation, which includes “Water-Towers,” a 40-structure maze made of illuminated plastic bottles.

“A water bottle is a simple everyday process,” said Munro, “but if you look at it in a different context, it becomes magical.”

“It’s just using your imagination,” he allowed, “and I don’t think people do that enough these days.”

“Daydreaming is a very good way to spend your time.”

Light opens to the public May 24 and will run through Nov. 10. Visit cheekwood.org for more information.