When: Dec. 5-Feb. 23 2014
The evocative effect of neon lighting is somehow both nostalgic and futuristic. This characteristic gives the medium a timeless quality that renders it endlessly awe-inspiring. New Neon, now on view at Bedford Gallery (1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek), harnesses this capacity for ageless intrigue by exploring the resurgence of neon’s relevance and usage in contemporary culture. Every artist in the large group show uses neon lighting or color to involve the viewer in his artistic statement. Ron Ulicny uses neon to comment on growing artistic abstraction with his works Painture No. 1 (Portrait) and Painture No. 2 (Still Life), which feature their respective titular parentheticals as neon signs mounted on black canvas. Meanwhile, Eric Franklin’s incredible blown-glass skull and skeleton feet with neon light running through them employ the radiance of neon in a way that vibrantly depicts human vitality. Amir H. Fallah’s Cosmically Aligned Chaos, on the other hand, is a rendition of a famous European still life that has been deconstructed and reimagined. Fallah added neon pigments to classical still-life colors to create a space-age, abstract re-imagination that excitingly defies chronological categorization. Overall, the luminescent show is both thoughtful and fun.