On Friday, March 31, the Newman University art program will host their monthly Final Friday exhibit in the Steckline Gallery with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Both the reception and admission to the gallery are free and open to the public.
The exhibition is called "Resonate With Stillness, Experience Light" by Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Digital Art Laura Scholl.
"The type of art I do is called electronic art installation artwork," explained Scholl. "The work that is going to go into this exhibit is mixed media. I've interwoven fiber optics into gold leafed canvases, and the fiber optics will be lit by LED lights that are controlled by a microprocessor, particularly the Arduino [a small microprocessor]."
Scholl said light from the LEDs is transmitted over the entire length of the fiber optic cable she weaves into her works. The cable is clad in a Teflon "jacket," which reflects the light along the side of the cable. By using LEDs that are programmed to emit different colors and are controlled by motion sensors, the cable appears to the viewer as a thin, flexible neon light.
Scholl said her hope is to have at least six out of the 14 canvases interact to motion detection, which is why the exhibit is called, "Resonate with Stillness, Experience Light." "When it's still the images will be still, and if it detects movement the lights will start changing," Scholl said.
One of the things Scholl is learning is that with her art, it's not just enough to know engineering and how microprocessing works, but she also needs to learn chemistry, and materials. She stated, "I did my masters at the MIT Media Lab in interactive and perceptual imagery [which taught me] what our mind does with images."
Scholl integrated spiritual practice and meditation into her work and started working on how to create paintings that would evoke this kind of stillness in others, which has had various incarnations.
"Then I moved to Wichita so that I could do my own artwork," she said. "Initially it started with woven canvases that I was tearing, reweaving, and gold leafing but had no electronics. Now I'm at the next stage where I am weaving the electronics in and the actual gold leaf is the canvas itself."
When it comes to her artistic interests, Scholl focuses on experimental light.
"Light is what I'm interested in. How people receive light and how to produce light," she said. She is also interested in interactive and insulation work. "It's all one big thing. I'm just excited that it's going to work."
The Steckline Gallery is located inside the De Mattias Fine Arts Center on the Newman campus, 3100 McCormick. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment. For more information, call Director of Visual Arts Mary Werner at 316-942-4291, ext. 2199.
Watch Scholl's Nov. 13, 2016 performance with the WSU Impulse Percussion Group and other of her videos here.