Showing Austin the Light
Written by: Sweta Vakani
POP Austin International Art Show returned to impress the F1 crowds and Austin locals alike with their newest exhibit “Illumination”. POP Austin once again transformed the Fair Market venue on East 5th St. into a world-class art exhibition. Featured artists from around the globe harnessed the power of light and electrified the Austin art scene for the weekend.
Entering the gallery, it took only a moment to adjust to the darkness of the space before vibrant splashes of neon light came into focus. “Illumination” concentrated on artists using light as their main medium. Though the artwork photographs beautifully, this work is absolutely meant to be experienced firsthand.
The exhibition featured local artists like Todd Sanders known for his Roadhouse Relics gallery on S. 1st St. and his neon Luchador masks. International artists were also represented with the works of Hans Kotter’s and his hypnotizing “Tunnel View,” which used mirrored glass and wings of light to transport the viewer into a rabbit hole. The Swiss artist Lori Hersberger’s obsidian dream scape “Constellation” consumed viewers with warm pink light light on the wall reflecting off the glassy black cracked stone on the ground.
NONOTAK, a collaborative art duo comprised of Takami Nakamoto and Noemi Schipfer, featured an audio visual installation called “Daydream V.2” which enveloped the viewer in an array of light and sound. The multimedia composition ebbs and flows in speed and shape, manipulating the viewers senses of reality.
After showcase hours, the venue stayed open to play host to Apex Nights. The exhibition closed down around the main bar and a dance floor opened up Friday through Sunday evening. DJs like Austin’s own Orthy played into the night with the light from the surrounding artwork pouring over the tops of the dance floor walls.
Partnering with the Circuit of the Americas, POP Austin featured a satellite show at the racetrack called POP! at the Races. The exhibit was a beautiful refuge from the rain. POP! at the Races featured works by Jean-Paul Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Bale Creek Allen among several other artists. As disconcerting it was to be in a metal tent during a torrential downpour, it was a pleasure to talk to artists Matthew LaPenta and Ugo Nonis about their work in the exhibit. LaPenta brings common digital social media symbols into the physical world in the form of his art as exemplified by his emoji sculptures and his piece "Keep it 100" which was displayed at Illumination. Nonis' playful work used abstract shapes and colors to elicit hazy memories and times that have passed.
The POP Austin International Art Show team cares deeply for their cause of making Austin a hub for the arts. The POP Austin events are not to be missed and, in time, will become a staple within Austin’s creative scene. POP Austin is illuminating the path for Austin to become the cultural capital it’s surely meant to be.