Monday, 5 May 2014

Sunset Reflections

Most of us have had the experience of stepping into the meditative twilight of the huge nave of some gothic church somewhere in the world to wander in complete awe, looking at the tall, magnificent stained glass windows, filtering the most beautiful effects onto the floor. Light beams across the shadowy interior to flood the contemplative mood of the church with inspiring colourful patterns.

Something similar is created by the talent of Bing Wright in his uncommon art works made of photographs of sunsets as seen through broken mirrors. Born in Seattle and based in New York, this photographer has devised a unique kind of art which immediately reminds viewers of stained glass works.

In fact, and after a period of time exclusively dedicated to black and white photographs, Wright made a stunning return to colour by capturing with his camera awesome sunsets, which he then projects onto mirrors he has previously broken into fragments of different sizes and irregular shapes. These shattered pieces of mirror – which commonly vary between 28 and 35 centimetres – are then patiently fit together, just as a jigsaw puzzle, so as to create the background against which the original photographs are going to be reflected. In a way, we could say these broken mirror surfaces work for Wright very much in the way canvas work for painters.

Once the basic shattered mirror composition is completed to the satisfaction of the artist, he ten re-photographs the reflections of the original sunset pictures and enlarges the images into 1.2 x 1.8 metre compositions which, once on exhibition, give viewers the feeling of standing among amazing stained glass windows soaking them in colour.

However, the fact that these sunsets are seem through the sinuous lines of broken mirrors and thereby distorted assigns them with an even more captivating aura which, somehow, dissociates them from the traditional image of sunsets. Bing Wright offers us consistent renderings of this whimsical and fascinating moment of the day, yet imbued with an even more magic feature, since the lines breaking the original consistency of the images create an interesting tension between the uniformity of the colour and the splinters “disturbing” the view.

By adding a new element to the usual equation of sunset photographs – the broken, irregular lines crossing them – Bing Wright has created a completely innovative and even more captivating view of this nostalgic split moment of the day. In a way, we may say that Wright’s sunsets have achieved a rare sensuality in their fragmented, shattered beauty – maybe a way to remind us that “everything beautiful is flawed and imperfect”, as stated by someone working for the James Harris Gallery, which represents him in Seattle.

With his innovative technique, great talent and deep creativity Bing Wright can appropriately be said to have achieved G. K. Chestreton’s  dream: “If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman, I shall feel that I have worked with God”.

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