The nature of light

Light can mesmerize us in almost any form — the sun’s rise or set, the long stretch of our shadow on the sidewalk, the rainbow prism of a lead glass window, shadow puppets on a ceiling.

It both reveals and creates the kind of art that changes each time you look. It can define a time period, a setting, a mood.

The Paine Art Center and Gardens connected all of these in a single, dazzling display called “The Nature of Light”.

“By combining historic architecture and traditional gardens with contemporary sculptures and innovative lighting, we hope to provide a fascinating experience that enhances your appreciation of the wonders of nature, math, and science as well as human ingenuity and creativity,” the opening display read.

Check. Check and double check.

We loved strolling through the beautiful Paine mansion, on which construction began in 1927 and halted for a stretch due to the Depression. It opened to the public as a museum in 1948. I had not been to the Paine in several years and was amazed all over again by the size and scope of its gardens.

This display combined modern light and sculptures designed to enhance the vintage chandaliers and Tiffany lamps that have been a part of the museum for nearly a century.

The effect was a beautiful conjunction of dignity and dazzle, history and innovation.

If we can appreciate how technological developments can enhance the nature of vintage art and natural light without ceding their beauty, might we apply those principles to other areas of our life?

In that way, light becomes synonymous with optimism.

That’s what I was thinking as I made my way through that very cool exhibit anyway.

Aren’t we humans magical creatures?

That glorious mansion, one of “America’s Castles” looked even more glorious bathed in the colorful light display.
Modern sculptures sent light dancing all over the grounds.
And inside as well. The effect of all of those carefully chosen patterns that juxtaposed vintage art with modern was really mesmerizing.
This is a ceiling and, if you look closely, you can see the reflection of the room’s art in those mirrored tiles of the light fixture. 2022 technology mirroring 1921ish innovation.
Same concept here, but with the mosaic flooring.
I like the way this dining room looks pastoral from this angle…
…and metropolitan from this angle. It’s all in the light and angles. I shot these pictures a few seconds apart.
We didn’t do this one right. We were supposed to play with the shadow lighting a lot more. It also makes me realize how important gentle (and maybe not purple) lighting is for vintage faces. Ha Ha.
Vintage fountain, modern light, age-old trees. I made a wish.

3 thoughts on “The nature of light

  1. This was a spectacular sight to see! It was the perfect fall evening when we went last week! And right in our backyard!

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