Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center - Exhibition: Night Light

COVID-19 Information

The Torggler will be closed for the holiday Nov. 24-29

DRIFT, Flylight, Coded Nature exhibition, Stedelijk Museum, 2018 (Courtesy of the artist)

Night Light
Group Exhibition

October 31, 2021 - May 15, 2022
Anne Noland Edwards Gallery
Free admission
Projection of forest in white light on dark background giving the appearance of a snow covered forest
Projection of mountains that appear to be covered in snow on a dark wall
Close up of Flylight installation glass elements that are lit up against a black background
Shapes of plants projected onto a dark wall in the corner of a room
Projection of forest in white light on dark background giving the appearance of a snow covered forest with a person blurred walking past the art
Projection of mountains that appear to be covered in snow on a dark wall
Flylight installation of glass elements with light in a spiral shape in the middle of a large room
white lights in the shape of tall weeds projected onto a blue wall

About the exhibition

We all find comfort in the glow of light in the darkness, illuminating what is otherwise not visible. Night Light brings together the works of five artists who manipulate light and shadow to capture, reveal and re-interpret patterns and behaviors found in nature that often go unnoticed until made to be seen. The overly familiar, like the rhythm of the seasons, and the frightening unknown, like nocturnal creatures, are brought into focus here to encourage a renewed sense of appreciation.

The silent exhibition takes visitors from land to sky and back, in each moment inviting us to pay closer attention to the world that surrounds us: how plants grow and sway in the wind, how forests look under the surface, how birds swarm under threat, how jackals watch over their territory, how storms brew above mountain tops. The stillness of the night, suggested by the monochromatic exhibition, finds itself illuminated by the light inherent to the artworks.

Often kinetic and employing innovative technologies, the works all aim to inspire the feeling of wonder that we experience when immersed in nature itself. Sharing a reverence toward nature’s complexity and its power, its subtleties and its grandeur, the artists in Night Light seek scientific truths about our world to better bring out its sublime qualities.

Yet, these works do not purport to replace our authentic experience of nature. This kind of “technological nature,” a phrase coined by American psychologist Peter H. Khan Jr. to study the relation between the degradation of the natural world and unprecedented technological advancements, instead hopes to galvanize our biophilic instinct (the innate tendency humans have to seek connections with nature and other forms of life), reminding us of both the fragility of nature and its ability to mark the passing of time. The effect of these works lives on not only in our imagination, but, in provoking an authentic connection between us and their subjects, also causes us to re-examine our surroundings with a keener eye for the natural order of things.

After the year we have collectively experienced, during which the outside world was seen as dangerous, but throughout which nature represented a source of relief and relaxation, this exhibition pays homage to the natural world and the fascination it holds for us all.

Night Light is organized by Margot Mottaz, associate curator at Superblue. It is the inaugural exhibition of the Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center at Christopher Newport University, and reflects both organizations’ commitment to presenting innovative forms of artistic expression to broad audiences.

About Superblue

Superblue is a groundbreaking new enterprise dedicated to producing, presenting and engaging the public with experiential art. Superblue works with artists and collectives like DRIFT, which produce kinetic sculptures and site-specific art installations, to offer opportunities for audiences to experience art in novel, immersive ways. In addition to working directly with museums and arts organizations to provide curatorial support, Superblue currently has an experiential gallery space in Miami and another in London.

About the artists

DRIFT artists Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta standing in front of a concrete wall

DRIFT

Flylight

Simon Heijdens

Simon Heijdens

Lightweeds

Joanie Lemercier headshot

Joanie Lemercier

Montagne, Cent Quatorze Mille Polygones

Quayola

Quayola

Remains #C_022

Michal Rovner

Michal Rovner

Black Forest and Eye Witness

Sponsors

We are deeply grateful to the sponsors who helped make the ambitious Night Light inaugural exhibition possible.

  • Wanda M. Austin and John E. Decher III
  • Mr. and Mrs. J. Whiting Chisman
  • Langley Federal Credit Union
  • Newport News Shipbuilding
  • Dr. Drina A. Northam and Women’s Executive Healthcare, PC
  • TowneBank

With additional support provided by:

  • Mary Katherine Hogg
  • Mrs. Thomas N. Hunnicutt
  • Larry King Law
  • Mary C. Neale
  • Dr. and Mrs. Helmuth W. Trieshmann Jr.

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