RISE gallery – The Light Within

Illuminated letters (of our time)

13 February 2017

I LOVE neon and I LOVE letters and typography, so I was always going to love the new show on at RISE gallery: The Light Within.

Neon, which for nearly a hundred years, has been used for commercial signage and advertising, reminds me first and foremost of the gaudy lights of Vegas, or Times Square – adult pleasure parks that urge the visitors to have fun, from every colourful flashing illumination.

I always enjoy art that uses the medium, and particularly when the artists subvert the original happy messaging of neon, to make darker comments on society.

The Light Within showcases work from five celebrated contemporary neon artists: Lauren Baker; Lee Blackshaw; Jimmy Galvin; Rebecca Mason; and Illuminati Neon. Each in their own style uses neon in this way, to encourage us to contemplate society.

From Illuminati Neon’s political pieces featuring Trump, Thatcher, and William & Kate, to Rebecca Mason’s work ‘using light to convey the darkness within human life’ and Lauren Baker’s Neon coffin, you’ll have plenty of time whilst visiting to reflect on life (and death) as we know it.

RISE gallery – The Light Within

If you were wanting to escape our political climate (perhaps not the year?) and were looking for something lighter (excuse the pun), you could perhaps view the show on an entirely aesthetic level – it’s punk, it’s pop, it’s disco, so I recommend popping by to let the soft glowing pink and blue hues wash over you, and I dare you to forget about current affairs.

And without further ado, let me show you some of the pieces I love…

Below, a work by Lauren Baker.

RISE gallery – The Light Within, Lauren Baker

The contrasting colours of some of Lee Blackshaw’s pieces below.

RISE gallery – The Light Within, Lee Blackshaw

Jimmy Galvin’s not so cheery ‘Death Disco’ below, which you’ll also spot through the steamy window, at the top of this post.

RISE gallery – The Light Within, Jimmy Galvin

A detail of Rebecca Mason’s ‘Bored’ below.

RISE gallery – The Light Within, Rebecca Mason

And last but definitely not least, some Illuminati Neon – starting with a detail from ‘Captain America’.

RISE gallery – The Light Within, Illuminati Neon RISE gallery – The Light Within, Illuminati Neon

The Light Within runs until Thursday 9 March, at RISEgallery, 7–9 St George’s Walk, Croydon, CR0 1YH

Posted by Julia

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