What is light? A physicist may discuss light in terms of its physical properties, such as speed or wavelength, while a biologist may admire the essential role of light in the creation and perpetuation of life. Yet, the significance of light surpasses the physical world. Moral and philosophical implications have surrounded the concept of light since ancient times. Art has a long tradition of using both light and darkness as a subject and tool to elicit emotion and denote meaning. In this way, art acts like a beam of light cutting through space and time, revealing thoughts about the world, humanity, and ourselves. By contrasting artworks associated with light with others conjuring darkness, Illumination expands awareness about the hidden and obscured.
This exhibition is organized by a team of Spencer Museum staff from multiple departments including student staff, with contributions from community advisors. The project is generously supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.