British artist Bruce Munro is taking his talents across the pond this year to delight Scottsdale Public Art and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) visitors with light-based art installations as part of a Valley-wide art series called Desert Radiance. An artist with international acclaim, Munro has been lauded across the world and participated in exhibits from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
The first exhibit in the Desert Radiance suite will open at SMoCA on October 3, 2015. Entitled, “Ferryman’s Crossing” (2015), it is part of the artist’s most recent series, Language and Light. In these pieces, Munro embeds significant texts into his compositions through use of long and short dashes of light in Morse code. This immersive artwork is inspired by a passage from Herman Hesse’s novel, “Siddhartha,” in which the protagonist finds spiritual unity through awareness of the present moment. For the exhibit, shimmering rows of reflective CDs are lit by dappled spotlights, evoking sunlight bouncing off the surface of flowing water. The exhibit will be on display through April 24, 2016, with varying admission prices for guests.
In addition, Scottsdale Public Art commissioned Munro to bring “Blooms,” (2015) to the Arizona Canal at Scottsdale Waterfront starting in early November 2015 as part of the Desert Radiance series. Seven circular platforms, each approximately 20 feet in diameter and crafted from 100, multi-colored, 10-foot long fiber-optic fishing rods, will float on the surface of the canal between the Soleri and Marshall Way bridges. The shape of each bloom resembles a blossoming water lily flower, with optical fibers gently illuminated by LED projectors.
The installation will remain on view through March 2016, is free to all visitors and will serve as the featured artwork during Scottsdale Public Art’s Canal Convergence event, held February 25-28, 2016. Canal Convergence is an annual event that celebrates the local landscape’s beauty and commemorates the city’s arts and culture environment, with interactive light-based art to activate the entire Waterfront area of the Arizona Canal.
“We are honored to welcome Bruce Munro’s creative efforts across the Valley,” Scottsdale Cultural Council President and CEO Neale Perl said. The Scottsdale Cultural Council is the management organization vested with the responsibility to oversee Scottsdale’s arts and culture entities: the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) and Scottsdale Public Art. “As an artist held in such high regard internationally, it’s truly a momentous occasion for Scottsdale Public Art, SMoCA and our city to continue to work with individuals who further the footprint of the arts community in Scottsdale.”
Munro’s installations with Scottsdale Public Art and SMoCA will be in coordination with two additional pieces of his work at the Desert Botanical Garden and the Lisa Sette Gallery. Together, these four cultural institutions have named this collaborative effort with Munro Desert Radiance. Providentially, the joint project also falls during the United Nations’ 2015 International Year of Light, a worldwide effort to raise awareness about how light and its application in the environment promotes sustainable development and provides solutions to global challenges. Munro will explore the medium of light with inspiration from Arizona’s vast and complex landscape.
Munro is best known for creating large and immersive light-based installations inspired by his interest in the shared human experience. He has recorded ideas and images in sketchbooks for over 30 years. His responses and reflections to music, literature, science and the world around him serve as subject matter for his artwork. His diverse portfolio includes temporary and experiential as well as intimate story pieces.
“Between all our organizations, we have more than 3,000 items in our permanent collection from more than 600 artists and have hosted more than 400,000 visitors per year,” Perl said. “With the recent Valley-wide partnership with Munro, we are hopeful to inspire future collaborations with such renowned artists and drive even more arts and culture tourism to the City of Scottsdale.”