Illuminations: Neon Sculpture of Brian Coleman and David Svenson


July 2–August 21, 2005

Curated by Skip Pahl

For most of us the word neon brings to mind the glaring signage of Times Square or the bright lights of Las Vegas. While it's true that neon got its start in the commercial field of advertising, a few creative artists have manipulated the technique of glass-bending with the noble gases into a dynamic and vibrant sculptural medium worthy of museums and private collections. Illuminations: The Neon Sculpture of Brian Coleman and David Svenson is a wondrous contemporary exhibition that showcases the work of two such neon artists that have taken the art form to new dimensions.

Brian Coleman and David Svenson first met in 1985 when Coleman's work was at the Museum of Neon Art in Los Angeles. Although Svenson grew up in the rural citrus country of Southern California and Coleman spent his high school years in New York City, the two discovered they had chosen similar lifestyles in the quiet nature of California. They have exhibited together countless times since their first meeting twenty years ago.

Neither artist began their career planning to work in neon. Coleman was a high profile designer in New York with years of lucrative commission work in lighting and interior design after graduating from the Pratt Institute. Svenson's sculpture was rooted in woodcarving and other sculptural materials when he began incorporating neon into his work in the 1980s.

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