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Illumetric: Public Art Shapes Santa Monica Blvd With Light

Posted by  on September 15, 2014 in Artist Interviews & Studio VisitsMAGAZINE

As dusk drapes Santa Monica Boulevard, geometric forms along the median begin to glow in primary colors. In day light the shapes are solid, bold. At night they luminesce magically thanks to photovoltaic sensors that detect a drop in ambient light levels that energizes the LED lights contained within the sculptures. The diamond, cube and rectangle are the work of artist Shana Mabari who hails from the Fairfax District.

The public art, entitled Illumetric, took a year to produce, with Mabari working extensively with legendary Southern California fabricator Jack Brogan on the preliminary fabrication and design. She discussed Illumetric, which she sees as a continuum of the Light and Space movement with us in an email interview:

What was the process for creating this installation, and was it specifically site-centric?

Preparing the work was a long and complex process. Structural engineers, electrical engineers, Ledtronics (who supplied the LED lights), fabricator and electricians all had to work together in harmony as the sculptures went through multiple phases. The experience of preparing for and imagining how these pieces would live on the median in scale, color and form has been incredible. I find each sculpture is really two individual pieces with a daytime and nighttime personality, just like us.

Were you approached by the City of West Hollywood, or vis versa?

I presented the project to the Arts and Cultural Affairs Committee in January 2013. In June 2013 they accepted the project, contract was signed and I worked closely with Andrew Campbell, administrator for the Commission and Art on the Outside program, on moving the project forward. I am thankful for Andrew Campbell and the City of West Hollywood’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission for accepting such a huge scale project.

Given the theft of the pink dog statue during Pride 2013, what if any measures are in place to protect your work? Was this a concern to you?

Given that the pieces are extremely heavy and bolted into a 30” concrete base set in the median, I find theft would be very difficult. The only person I can see being able to pull something like that off would be BANSKY and if that happened I would be quite flattered. [Diamond weights 1800 lbs; Cube, 2600 lbs, and Rectangle 600 lbs]

You worked with primary colors–could you explain your thoughts behind that?

The three sculptures are a study of color, geometry, light and scale. Primary colors and geometry connect us in the most basic form. Each sculpture is its own entity, its own personality finding an individual place in the world. I am merely a guardian. They now have relationships with themselves, each other and their viewers as individuals. Given time to develop those relationships will slowly identify who and what they become. My vision was to create a connection with the public through artwork that allows all to feel a common element, a togetherness, sharing an experience that connects us as a community.

How do you feel Illumetric carries on/through the continuum of Light and Space? And on/through your own work?

Illumetric is a continuum of and influenced by the Light and Space movement through color, materials, light, scale and process. The investigations of sensory deprivation and other visual phenomena by James Turrell and Robert Irwin have influenced my work and collaborations with psychophysicist Dr. Shinsuke Shimojo, world renowned expert in the Vision Sciences at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California and neuromorphic engineer Dr. Tobais Delbruck, from the Institute of Neuroinformatics, Zurich, Switzerland.

My work continues to investigate ways in which worldly stimuli and phenomena are absorbed and processed through sensory and visual perception. I orchestrate light, reflection, color contrast, and geometry to play with and expand the reality and experience of physical space.

Who are your influences overall, and within Light and Space?

James Turrell, Helen Pashgian, Robert Irwin, Fred Eversley, DeWain Valentine, Peter Alexander. These artists are visionaries that have influenced me and my work. They all surpass the boundaries of materials which allow their work to take on a life of its own, I strive for that quality in my own work.

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Mabari has upcoming installations in the works, including projects in Palm Desert and Santa Monica, CA. Details can be found on her website, shanamabari.com

Photos: Eric Minh Swenson, thuvanarts.com