Refraction: Contemporary Art from the Harn Museum Collection
Refraction is the bending of a wave such as light or sound as it crosses from one medium to another. In optics, refraction refers to the way light can appear to split and alter the angle of the image. It explains the apparent bending of straw when it is partially immersed in water and viewed from above. Similarly, the viewer acts as a medium of refraction. The act of looking is a creative and transformative event that alters the perspective of the viewer and creates multiple meanings of the object observed. Many modern and contemporary artist are keenly interested in the act of perception itself and have focused on the phenomena of reflection, refraction and mirroring as well as other unusual effects of light and shadow. Ordinary objects are seen in extraordinary ways.
Artists in Refraction such as Sol LeWitt, Sabine Hornig, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Jaroslav Rössler experiment with the effects of light from varying angles or reflected and refracted off different surfaces. These works highlight the dynamics of perception. Art in the exhibition also includes works by Antoni Tapies, El Anatsui and William Kentridge. These objects remind us that the art experience occurs not to but through someone, a dynamic process where the perspective of the viewer and the meaning of the object are both in a constant process of change. The exhibition is made possible by the 150th Anniversary Cultural Plaza Endowment.