Shasti O'Leary Soudant , Let There Be Light

Shasti O'Leary Soudant , Let There Be Light

Let There Be (More) Light by Kate Soudant

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I have been wondering how much of the numerous sub-texts, levels and connections with light the visitors are getting to the new exhibition by Shasti O’Leary Soudant, Let There Be Light! in the Useum™. It has been noticed that too many people, adults, in particular, are missing the fullness of the experience.

Contemporary art requires time and effort of the viewer to enable them to see beyond the surface of the work and discover the many layers of meaning that are being presented. In our all too hurried world, it is not always possible for viewers to take the time and effort required to focus on one work or installation and experience the depth and richness of the work. Visitors are challenged to dig deep to see below the surface or beyond what our eyes seem to see to find how the work will relate to their world. It is an artist’s intention to stimulate the viewer into making their own connections or ‘ah ha’ moment. And artists do this by creating pieces that will allow the viewer to find the secret(s) that lie inside the artist’s visual and experiential construction. If all is told, then the work is less dynamic and less open for even more interpretations and layers of understanding that could be brought by the viewer.

It is with that in mind, that I have created a semi‘cheat sheet’ for those who, for whatever reason – techophobic, engineer-challenged, time constraints, etc. etc,. cannot take the time or use the ‘props’ to help them enter into this world of many insights.

Here are some hints to offer you a fuller experience while interacting in the many facets of Shasti O’Leary Soudant’s USEUM exhibit. (BUT PLEASE USE THE REMOTES, which are available at the front desk, AND READ THE SYMBOLS AND SIGNS BEFORE SUBMITTING TO USING THE BELOW)

The announcement card itself has a wealth of information on it. The photo, while looking distorted, can be decoded by putting it under either a red or green light. (You can sample this at the mirrors when you see the red or green light) This gives a clue as to how our ‘eyes’ see color and how light and color can change how we see things. If you look closely at the bottom you can also see a key to Morse Code (see below).

The photo booth outside the entrance is not your normal photo-booth. This one is magic and is connected to the photo strips that are located on the wall inside the Useum space. Want to become part of the exhibition? Take your photo in the booth and it will be transmitted to a computer that will process your image with the image taken before or after. When enough image strips are generated, Shasti will process and add to the portrait gallery on the wall. Use the ceiling remote to adjust the color and speed and you can see each photo more clearly with one of the two (depending on light color chosen) becoming clear.

Wondering about those dot’s and dashes? It is Morse Code. Did you know that Samuel Morse was an artist? Artists work with light. Morse Code is an international mode of communication that has been used via light transmission to give information. You can find the KEY to the Code on the Cards located above the Lite-Brite board. Use it to discover the titles of the various pieces (and more) seen around the room.

The large colorful print on the wall marked with dots and dashes also has a message for the viewer – All I will say is that it is the chorus of a [relevant} song that is loved by the artist. The code below is a hint – NOT the title to the song. (Come on, I am not going to give away EVERYTHING). This too changes with help from the remotes.

The mirrors are surrounded by light that changes color and pulsation by use of a remote. Remember the story of Snow White? Look in the mirror, change the color (using the wall remote) and see how you can become beautiful (or not) depending on the lighting.

How many remember the child’s game – Lite-Brite’. The huge lighted board is a variation on that childhood memory. Create your own ‘light’ masterpiece.

The power of sound…Can it even stop color? The large colorful squares on the wall might be able to ‘react’ to the change of sound. See what happens when a loud sound penetrates its shape.

- Kate Soudant


Kate Soudant is a docent at both the Burchfield Penney Art Center and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. She also also Shasti O'Leary Soudant's mother-in-law, and is featured in the promotional materials for this exhibition.