Soo Sunny Park: Luminous Muqarna

March 18 - June 18, 2017

Soo Sunny Park transforms the viewer’s experience of light from solely a perceptual phenomenon into a physically robust presence with weight and volume. She created Luminous Muqarna for the Islamic Arts Festival in the United Arab Emirates. The work’s sculptural elements derive from muqarnas, ornamental vaults found in Islamic architecture, especially mosques. A muqarna allows light to filter into the space below, recasting it in new ways that not only decorate surfaces, but extend structural lines and illuminate specific parts of the interior façade.

Park animates the gallery with an abundance of domed forms in green and blue, fashioned from petal-like segments that cascade down, in, and around the space. The interplay of these domes and their shadows created by white light spilling through the pierced surfaces works a kind of magic. The shadows, cast in all directions, create a dynamic weave of intricate patterns. The experience seems at once weighty and weightless, transporting us to some mysterious, even sacred, environment.

— Mara Williams, Chief Curator

In my work over the last ten years I have moved toward using cast light as a sculptural material. I reconfigure boundary materials—fencing, plastic, glass, sheetrock—to expand and explore a variety of transitional spaces between inside and outside, sculpture and drawing, vision and perception, objects and their shadows.

Light is usually treated as a liminal element: something that mediates our visual awareness of the world, but not itself something that we see. In my work, rather than just a means by which the form is seen, light is part of what constitutes the artwork. For me light is a sculptural material, not because without it the forms cannot be seen, but because without it there is no projection, reflection, translucency, or shadow, so the drawing or sculpture is not complete.

— Soo Sunny Park


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