LIT: Light in Transmission

A survey of the diverse range of both neon and plasma light art

By Pittsburgh Glass Center

The Light in Transmission exhibition features both neon and plasma works curated by Percy Echols II, artist, creator of the podcast “Taming Lighting” and PGC’s first recipient of the Ron Desmett Memorial Award for Imagination with Glass.

Echo (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Sarah BloodPittsburgh Glass Center

Echo by Sarah Blood

"Light, predominantly neon, seeks a non-luminous counterpoint that brings conceptual, physical, and visual weight to the work, creating immersive experiences that speak to human existence and ideas." -Sarah Blood

J Dawg, Danielle James, 2021-02-05/2021-07-18, From the collection of: Pittsburgh Glass Center
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Spaces Between: Ruby and Red Paired Heart Forms, Harriet Schwarzrock, 2021-02-05/2021-07-18, From the collection of: Pittsburgh Glass Center
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The show exhibits the work of 14 artists, including Danielle James' piece J_Dawg_444 on the left and Harriet Schwarzrock's spaces between: ruby and red paired heart forms on the right.

Light in Transmission (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Percy Echols IIPittsburgh Glass Center

Neon vs. Plasma

This exhibition includes both neon and plasma works of art. Though similar, they contain some key differences.

Light in Transmission (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Percy Echols IIPittsburgh Glass Center

Neon

Like traditional neon signs, neon sculptures use tubes of glass and can glow brightly. The glass tubes hold electrodes at either end. The electricity applied to the tubes causes the atoms of the neon gas within to bounce around and create energy, eventually releasing particles of light, or photons.

Spaces Between: Crimson Paired Heart Forms (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Harriet SchwarzrockPittsburgh Glass Center

Plasma

Plasma is not as bright as neon and moves more freely like lightning in spacious glass vessels. Plasma contains negatively charged electrons and positively charged ions. Plasma can be seen in the glow of stars, auroras in the night sky, and even in lightning.

Light in Transmission (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Percy Echols IIPittsburgh Glass Center

There are 11 artworks that use Plasma in the LIT exhibition.

Can you spot the difference?

Iris (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Eve HoytPittsburgh Glass Center

Iris by Eve Hoyt

Eve Hoyt is a part of the artist group the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers and a member of the She Bends neon collective. "When I first began to notice neon, I knew that I wanted to make it for myself. I’m exhilarated by its luminous glow!"

Purple Scribble (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Eve HoytPittsburgh Glass Center

Purple Scribble by Eve Hoyt

"I enjoy glass bending and approach it with a sense of mindful curiosity. I’m interested in creating artwork that is lively and playful, and like to incorporate found objects in my pieces." -Eve Hoyt

Trouble With The Trees (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Eve HoytPittsburgh Glass Center

Trouble With The Trees by Eve Hoyt

Eve Hoyt began bending neon in 1989. After several years working in the sign industry and looking to explore the possibilities of using neon as an art form, she set up her own studio, Evening Neon.

Ember/Armor (2020) by Letica MaldonadoPittsburgh Glass Center

Ember/Armor by Leticia Maldonado

Leticia Maldonado uses the rose as a symbol for meditation on the subject of compassion in Ember/Armor.

"I wanted to call up all of the places in myself where I’ve ever felt empathy for others; grow it up around me as a living ember; wear it as an armor; and protect my soul from the energies in dark times that would call humankind to separate."

Ghosted (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Danielle JamesPittsburgh Glass Center

Ghosted by Danielle James

Danielle James uses her artwork mainly as a venue to practice bending glass and secondly to hold a neon microscope to American popular culture. She is part of the SheBends collective has started her own neon shop called HEX NEON.

PNP (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Danielle JamesPittsburgh Glass Center

P_N_P by Danielle James

Her “I Fixed It! Thrift Store Neon” series of works seen here combines Danielle’s love of thrift shopping, humor and the demanding practice of neon bending. Art has an amazing power to turn materials headed for the landfill into something of value, she states.

PNP, Ghosted, J Dawg (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Danielle JamesPittsburgh Glass Center

A view of Danielle James' work inside the PGC gallery space

Blazin Beacon, Ed Kirshner, 2021-02-05/2021-07-18, From the collection of: Pittsburgh Glass Center
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"As might be expected from a media based on chaos, my work is very experimental. It is most often unpredictable and surprising, as well as extremely sensitive to fine-tuning and a delicate balance between numerous non- linear variables. The resulting chaotic order is beautiful, enthralling, interactive with the viewer and often mesmerizing." -Ed Kirshner

Cumulus Gone Nimbus (Red and Blue) (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Percy Echols II and Daria SandburgPittsburgh Glass Center

Cumulus Gone Nimbus (Red and Blue) by Percy Echols II

Percy Echols II describes these pieces as milestones in his collaborative efforts with Daria Sandburg. "Like one looks to the sky, each of us sees a different expression, shapeless until the mind gives figuration, mundane before electrified illumination."

Flower Bouquet (2020) by Mundy HepburnPittsburgh Glass Center

Flower Bouquet by Mundy Hepburn

Mundy Hepburn explores matter and being through glass, stating "The shapes that happen as a result of my playing with it look primal and natural. What a pleasure to experiment with natural phenomena!"

Party Banana (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Megan StelljesPittsburgh Glass Center

Party Banana by Megan Stelljes

Megan Stelljes says her creativity is sparked by exploring sexual undertones in contrast with her conservative Midwestern upbringing which reveal opportunities for dialogue about sex, sexuality, sexual health and consent.

I Don't Carrot All, Megan Stelljes, 2021-02-05/2021-07-18, From the collection of: Pittsburgh Glass Center
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"My work is the visual manifestation of my values and emotions. Exploring a long standing and deep fascination with color and light. Inspired by popular culture, including those associations of familiarity and comfort attached to foodstuffs, it is most often my daydreams - which spark my imagination." -Megan Stelljes

Spaces Between: Crimson Paired Heart Forms (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Harriet SchwarzrockPittsburgh Glass Center

spaces between: ruby and transparent paired heart forms

Harriet Schwarzrock explores the heart as our emotional center. "From the subtle yet essential electricity with our bodies, to our extraordinary similarities and our small differences. These forms are similar, yet they manifest different qualities of pulsing energy and light."

Spaces Between: Ruby and Red Paired Heart Forms (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Harriet SchwarzrockPittsburgh Glass Center

spaces between: crimson paired heart forms

"Although the gases are invisible, when excited by electricity they reveal subtle effects and differences. I am fascinated by this interplay between the invisible and the visible, between similarity and difference." -Harriet Schwarzrock

Flash Camera (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Michael FlechtnerPittsburgh Glass Center

Flash Camera by Michael Flechtner

"When I was a child I was fascinated with electricity, fire and colored light of any sort. It could be the stained glass windows at church, my father testing the Christmas lights on Christmas Eve and the neon signage in my home town..."

Blue Shark (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Michael FlechtnerPittsburgh Glass Center

Blue Shark by Michael Flechtner

"I knew early on that I was an artist...spending a lot of time drawing and making things from stuff I’d find in the junk drawer. I also built from scratch telegraph sets, crystal radio sets, carbon rod microphones and radio transmitters."

Small Red Airplane (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Michael FlechtnerPittsburgh Glass Center

Small Red Airplane by Michael Flechtner

"My work reflects a love of the craft of neon fabrication...which I consider a zen activity, my sense of humor, love of color and movement. I keep my fingers on the pulse of contemporary culture, I play with language, pop imagery, rebuses..."

Lime (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Denzel RussellPittsburgh Glass Center

lime by Denzel Russell

Denzel Russell describes his practice as a diary of observations. "The materials my work encompasses are an evaluative extension of the diasporic and sociopolitical spheres I inhabit."

Emergent #5 "Structure" (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Wayne StrattmanPittsburgh Glass Center

Emergent #5 "Structure" by Wayne Strattman

Wayne Strattman encompasses his current sculptural focus with this idea: "Random combinations of molecules have self-assembled over eons of time to form our most profound thoughts and feelings which we can use to examine ourselves."

Color Fields (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Wayne StrattmanPittsburgh Glass Center

"Color Fields" Mesmer by Wayne Strattman

Wayne’s background in engineering has made his name synonymous with glassmaking in the Boston area, as well as around the world. For several decades, his company, Strattman Design, has been a global leader in creating custom sculpture and architectural installations.

10,000 Radio Series (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Patrick CollentinePittsburgh Glass Center

10,000 Radio Series by Patrick Collentine

Patrick Collentine compares his practice to improvisational jazz, stating "one composes riffs yet performs attuned to the moment. You have to adapt to the unexpected."

Awaken (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Patrick CollentinePittsburgh Glass Center

Awaken by Patrick Collentine

"The working method of creating plasma light sculptures is very nuanced and serendipitous. How a glass sculpture illuminates is a combination of physics, electrical behavior and chance." -Patrick Collentine

K-Now (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Leo TecoskyPittsburgh Glass Center

K-Now (Know Now) by Leo Tecosky

Leo Tecosky works at the intersection of cultural exchange, craft traditions and the pursuit of knowledge of self. He blends glass making techniques with deconstructed graffiti iconography.

Tughra (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Leo TecoskyPittsburgh Glass Center

Tughra by Leo Tecosky

"From graffiti letters etched with Islamic patterns to hot-sculpted, Wildstyle- arrow installations, Tecosky juxtaposes
the complexity of visual language with the fluidity and transparency of glass." —Cheryl White, Executive Director, The Elizabeth River Trail Foundation

Percy Echols II, Percy Echols II, From the collection of: Pittsburgh Glass Center
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Percy Echols II, Percy Echols II, From the collection of: Pittsburgh Glass Center
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Curator Percy Echols II at work in Pittsburgh Glass Center's shops.

Curatorial Statement

The exhibition is a survey of the diverse range of light art within the shared medium of both neon and plasma sculpture. As an artist, I chose those who had impacted my creative process, education, and expanded my world view on the nearly unlimited potential of neon and plasma light as artistic medium. As a curator, the people I invited present expressions of light, within a variety of shared and differing experiences, skills, and techniques.

Light In Transmission is a multilayered expression of my excitement in this growing community be it the undying light of neon, or the obscure nature of plasma. Past, present, or future, there will be light.

—Percy Echols, II
Artist and Exhibition Curator

Light in Transmission (2021-02-05/2021-07-18) by Percy Echols IIPittsburgh Glass Center

Credits: Story

Photographer: Nathan J. Shaulis

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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