Symbiotic Balance, Light Projections by Kathryn Kuntz at the Weston Gallery

By Emil Robinson

Science and art have always had a complementary relationship. Ocular perception, linear perspective, and color theory all utilize the rules of science for expressive purposes. Contemporary artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Robert Irwin, and James Turrell utilize science to create transcendent experiences. The work of Ohio Artist Kathryn Kuntz uses the way light operates to create her ephemeral works that inhabit sculpture, painting, and site-specific installation at the same time. For her recent show:  Symbiotic Balance, Light Projections by Kathryn Kuntz at the Weston Gallery, Kuntz created angular minimalist sculptures that she painted white and mounted to the walls of the gallery. Then she lit the sculptural work with a mix of stage Halogens with colored gels and LED lights. The different light sources interacted to create wonderful prismatic effects. The armature-like sculptural pieces receded or came into relief in surprising and logic defying ways. In certain pieces the shadows cast on the wall and sculpture became more physical and spatial then the sculpture itself. In other works, gallery director Dennis Harrington observed that the pieces seemed to “pierce the walls of the gallery.”

“Thankful for the warm space inside my small apartment I think of the vastness outside and shiver” – 2013, sculpture and colored light


Kuntz is a 2011 graduate from the Southern Illinois University Carbondale MFA program, where she studied painting. Her show at the Weston was a painterly experience. The sophistication of her shape and color universe was admirable. Formal devices such as reframing, closure, and hard and soft edges were all utilized. Pieces like: thankful for the warm space inside my small apartment I think of the vastness outside and shiver contain an amazing amount of color and value interaction. The dark pocket of shadow contained inside the sculptural part of this piece feels more tangible and declarative then the physical walls that hold it.

The best part about Kuntz’s works was their ability to engage the viewer. The low light exhibition at the Weston immediately caused visitors to slow down and be quiet, two necessary components for good art viewing. In addition the work played with our ability to judge the tangibility of an object’s dimensions. The only physical part of the work was the white sculptural armature, but the color and light created additional physical presence. This challenged the viewer to trust in a mirage of space. This kind of trust is the same kind we use when emotionally attaching to a time of day or the light on a bedroom wall. Perceptual engagement makes the viewer feel special, as the experience is personal. Perhaps after viewing Kuntz’s work, the viewer’s eye and heart have been opened to the possibilities for transcendence in the rest of our visible world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *