Soo Sunny Park’s “Unwoven Light” Installation at Rice

Suspended from the walls and ceiling, 37 individually sculpted units are arranged as a graceful, twisting flow of abstract form. Entering the gallery there is no set path to follow. Instead, we are invited to meander slowly as one might stroll along a river’'s edge, stopping to admire the glints of light that dance on the water’'s surface.

"Unwoven Light" continues Soo Sunny Park'’s ongoing experimentation with the ephemeral qualities of light and how light affects our perceptions of architectural space. Though immaterial, light is a critical structural element in each of Park'’s works. Here, she has utilized both the gallery'’s lighting and the natural light that enters through the front glass wall. Park notes, “We don’t notice light when looking so much as we notice the things light allows us to see. 'Unwoven Light' captures light and causes it to reveal itself, through colorful reflections and refractions on the installation’s surfaces and on the gallery floor and walls.”

For "Unwoven Light," Park used 20 sculptural units from a previous installation and built 17 new ones. Working long days with two assistants in her New Hampshire studio, it took Park two weeks to complete one unit. Each required seven hours of welding to brace the fencing, 100 of tying the wire that holds each Plexiglas piece in place, and many more hours of cutting Plexiglas shapes to fit the chain link cells.

Iridescence in nature is seen in the sheen of peacock feathers, fish scales, and butterfly wings, appearing as a myriad of colors that appear to change with the angle at which they are viewed. Here, the iridescent properties of the coated Plexiglas serve to unweave light, each shape turning from clear to colorful in light'’s presence. 

Each visitor’s experience of "Unwoven Light" will be unique, depending upon the time of day, ratio of natural to artificial light, precise angle of viewing, and even the number of people in the gallery. It is possible for two people to stand next to one another and each have a completely different experience of the dynamic presence of light.

Excerpted from an article about the installation on the Rice Gallery website. This article is expanded content for Texas Architect July/August 2013.