Opacity and Radiance

21st November 2019 - 24th January 2020

This exhibition presents work by five artists who contributed to the second issue of Effects, a journal that thinks about aesthetic effects, their histories and contemporary lives. The first issue, published in 2018, looked at the capacity of the visual arts to conceal materials, surfaces and structures. This second issue thinks broadly about how light effects ground the ways that we imagine truth. It includes new works of art, poetry and criticism that address the aesthetics and politics of light and dark, visibility and invisibility, reflection and absorption, glimmer and glow, kitsch and camouflage. The works in the exhibition continue that thinking in various ways.

Anna-Bella Papp’s clay tablets evoke two disparate objects, an art-fair booth and a mountain landscape, an odd coupling opposed in many ways (interior/exterior, geometric/irregular) but that nevertheless shares a relation to brightness. Images of other works in clay appear in Effects 2, alongside an account of how she was taught at art school always to draw the light object near and the dark object far. With this in mind, her elegant lowrelief sculptures of a protruding moon or modernist facade seem to caricature this pedagogical commonplace.

Abigail DeVille’s Moon Meditations for Martin I is a shrine-like assemblage. The Martin of its title could be Martin Luther King Jr., whose final speech the artist draws on in her film Only When It’s Dark Enough Can You See The Stars, stills of which are published in Effects 2. The work, assembled from found materials, is lit by a single bulb encased in a darkened orb, evoking a scene of nocturnal commemoration.

Noel W Anderson’s triptych Twenty Between Chuck’s presents three tapestries with versions of the same image: a basketball player jumping, presumably towards a net. The artist has commented that the spectacular images of black athletes hanging from basketball nets might in some respects be thought of as a repetition of the images of lynched African-American men that were consumed by white audiences. Picking up on some of the concerns in Anderson’s remarkable essay on black radiance for Effects 2, this work distresses that image in various ways, offering new possible lines of flight for the imagination.

Lakshmi Luthra’s photographs All Supply, nos. 1 and 3, are two still lives the ground of which is a kind of black photographic fabric, which typically lies behind the lens, to absorb excess light. Using this hidden material as the ground of her images, among various scattered, partly obscured objects, including dust and hairs, Luthra creates the obverse of commercial photography. Similarly, her essays in Effects 1 and 2 chart the development of the photograph into the supreme fetish object of our times.

Jeffrey Stuker’s photographic negatives, presented on a light box, are not in fact photographs at all. Composed on computer imaging software, the artist creates images of a higher quality than any camera can achieve. The images are taken from ultra-detailed 3D models that the artist creates of various species of moth, all of which mimic their environments. In doing so, Stuker mimics the mimics. Extending the thinking in his artwork, Stuker’s essays in Effects 1 and 2 ask us to reflect on the entombing of life into images.

Effects was started by Christopher Page and Orlando Reade and this second issue is edited by Clementine Keith-Roach, Lakshmi Luthra, Christopher Page, Matt Rickard, Jeffrey Stuker and Florence Uniacke.
For more information please visit: www.effects-journal.com.