Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cool neon

Impractical Luminescence opens at the Fulcrum Gallery.

Published in the Weekly Volcano, March 20, 2008
Photo: neon art by Galen Turner, courtesy of the artist

“My new artist is a local guy who does some pretty avant-garde neon work. He is that guy who drives that Volvo station wagon with the rocket on top. … This guy is pretty cool.” That’s what Oliver Doriss from Fulcrum Gallery has to say about his latest featured artist.

The guy is Galen Turner, a mostly self-taught neon artist who is a teaching assistant in the neon program at The Evergreen State College and whose work Neon Missile Car was featured on the cover of the 2008 Pilchuck catalog.

Turner describes his work as very untraditional neon. He says he has learned from working with Doug Hitch at Evergreen and from “exploring the medium, playing with colored gasses, trying to make light actually move and squiggle.”

When you touch one of his pieces, the light moves. You will have to actually see it for yourself at the opening reception at the Fulcrum Gallery tonight, March 20, from 6 to 10 p.m.

The show is called Impractical Luminescence and is described by the gallery as “a charged selection of rare gasses.”

There will be approximately 18 neon pieces in the show. When I spoke to Turner a week prior to the opening, he did not know how many pieces would wind up in the gallery. He was still putting some of them together. Some of the works are wall sculptures, and others are interactive, portable works that people are encouraged to pick up and handle.

Pictures will be taken of people handling the neon art at the opening, and the pictures will be raffled off to earn money to purchase a vacuum pump, which is the last piece of equipment Turner needs to make his studio complete. So enter the raffle to help an innovative neon artist complete his work.

Like most of you readers, I have not yet had an opportunity to see any of Turner’s work. But he did e-mail me a few photographs. One picture was of what appeared to be a mounted neon fish — a salmon on a typical oval mounting board with an actual salmon head and a neon body. Very strange.

Another looked like a mechanical insect with red-tipped blue neon arms and an array of circular objects that look like speakers. Yet another looked like a neon tree with orange balls on the tips of limbs. All were beautifully aglow with soft luminescence.
This looks like a not-to-be-missed show.

Also, mark your calendars for an artist’s lecture in the gallery Thursday, April 17, from 7 to 9 p.m.

[Fulcrum Gallery, Impractical Luminescence, neon art by Galen Turner, through May 11, open by appointment and Sunday noon to 6 p.m., 1308 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, 253.250.0520]

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