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Hap Tivey
at Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer

Hap Tivey projects light directly on gallery walls as slowly changing colorscapes that induce subtle perceptual epiphanies.

Well known for his wall sculptures featuring LED lights, acrylic paint, and canvas, Hap Tivey tweaks his modus operandi in “Folded Light,” projecting light directly onto the gallery walls. In two site-specific works, “Tilted Horizon” and “Kelly Arc,” he precisely delimits rhomboid outlines within which he places arcing and shelf-like forms that read as sweeping compositional gestures. Slowly changing colorscapes are projected from overhead, allowing the pieces’ emotive personalities to evolve, by turns sunnier, by turns moodier. The projections also change the character of the shadows cast by the sculptural elements.

According to the viewer’s position within the room, the works take on varying illusionistic effects — sometimes appearing flat, other times seeming to crawl across the wall, even though the light never actually exceeds the shapes’ boundaries. The shelf-like “gestures” variously take the feel of violent, glamorous rips in an abstract picture plane or quotidian materials in an industrial construction project. This ever-shifting experience speaks to Tivey’s long-standing alignment with the Southern California Light and Space movement. Like Robert Irwin, James Turrell and other exemplars, Tivey uses light and form to induce subtle perceptual epiphanies at the frontier of the physical and metaphysical.

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