practice. “The three architectural pieces that are in the show are different aspects of it.” Those pieces are Step Right Up, Little Boxes, and Meltdown, which depicts small cast-ceramic homes in various stages of melting into pools. Lit from beneath by LEDs that illuminate architectural plans (pencil and ink drawings on Mylar) from Denney’s own practice, the melting homes are cast in a sickly green glow. “It’s not just the value melting away,” the artist said, “it’s the profound impact it has had on people who are having to deal with that. There’s so much personal identity that’s tied up in a home.” Step Right Up shows similar ceramic homes half submerged in glass bowls of water, possibly in reference to the bad deals home buyers found themselves in after financing their homes with unscrupulous lenders. The piece is lit from above with an LED that subtly changes colors, casting a soft, uniform pastel hue to the sculpture. “I use a lot of LEDs in more conventional forms with architectural works,” Denney said. “I was somewhat familiar with what was unique about it in terms of lighting, but this is the first time I spent much time working with it as an element in my sculpture.”
The artists put LED technology to use in many different ways. Some work is illuminated from without, some from within — as with Chuck Zimmer’s Box. Zimmer’s work is a cube form overlaid with dyed fabric treated with encaustics. The light from within gives the surface an appearance reminiscent of stained glass. Greg Chaprnka’s HD video Castle in Slovakia takes a live video feed of the gallery and interlays the images with location shots of a ruined castle the Maryland native once visited overseas. His video presents an abstracted fusion of different times and places.
None of the artists whose work is presented here allow the innovative use of LED technology to supersede aesthetic considerations and, hence, the work does not come off as novelty but as art.