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Evolutionary cycles of light




Anderson, Loraine Lundquist, author
Berland, John C., advisor
Wassell, Harold J., committee member
Getty, Nilda C., committee member
Henre, James, committee member
Cantrell, Carol H., committee member

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The mysteries of reflected and refracted solar light phenomena integrated with geometry and the technology of the 20th century are the major focus of the work in this thesis. It is concerned with the metaphysical and personal aspects of universal cyclic solar light used in ancient ritual and medieval theology, integrated with the contemporary external-oriented and impersonal use of solar energy. The objective was to explore ancient, medieval and contemporary differences regarding evolutionary cycles of solar light. For example, the Indians of Peru found order in the universe through observation of solar light cycles. Through veneration of the sun as god in personal internal-oriented ritual celebrating the beauty of light and giver of fertility and harvest, they explained their relationship to the cosmos. The meaning of the sun and its light manifest itself in the gold icons symbolic of the beauty of solar light. Medieval humanity in the 12th and 13th centuries further explored the organization of state and theology in crystal and stone Gothic cathedrals. Opening the architecture to the sun with windows exemplary of the feudal state and Christian religion, Romanesque shadows were banished from somber interiors. The God-given sun as divine light, shining through crystal combined with stone exemplified the medieval spirit of bright and dark, fierce passion and stillness, life and death. During the 20th century, scientists, astronomers and physicists gathered solar light for energy purposes without regard for its splendor and beauty, while natural light cycles integrated with art were ignored during post-medieval times until late 20th century. Based on the perception of light, Dewain Valentine, Larry Bell, James Turrell, Nancy Holt and Eric Orr have explored the content of light with sculptural form beginning with the l 970's. The sculptures in this thesis bring together the inherent order, harmony and intellect of geometric shape with the purity of solar light, presenting stability in a 20th century world of daily violence, economic crises and finite energy sources. Via a concentration of solar energy in reflected and refracted images from Plexiglas planes onto receptive surfaces in sculptural form, it is a search for the origin of personal energies. On another level, the works ask the viewer to examine her /his own source of strength and appreciation. Perhaps inquiry of their consciousness will lead them to a discovery of a new relationship to the universe and a world beyond time and space.


1982 Spring.

Rights Access


Light in art


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