Art historian Carol Damian offers a virtual walk through of Sandra Muss's exhibition at Artscape Lab

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Art historian Carol Damian offers a virtual walk through of Sandra Muss's exhibition at Artscape Lab
Installation view.

MIAMI, FLA.- Because of the coronavirus, Illuminations, Sandra Muss’s exhibition at Artscape Lab, scheduled for March 12-April 30, never opened. Luckily, a video walk through of the exhibition with art historian Carol Damian was made during the exhibition installation. The video can be seen here, on Sandra Muss’s website and on the gallery website. Currently, Artscape Lab is a virtual gallery.

The exhibit, Muss’s first with the gallery, focused on her use of light in a diversity of media. The simplicity of a tube of light can transform spaces and shapes into magical entities and the properties of refraction and reflection further enhance her message of transcendence. Once a romantic notion derived from ancient mystical notions of light, in the secularism of the modern world, its transformative powers take on a new meaning, while never losing their potency and spiritual relevance.

“Muss looks beyond the science of light combined with references to industrial materials for a new aesthetic that goes beyond minimalism into a more phenomenological one,” says Carol Damian. “It is this phenomenon of combination, physical and conceptual, that is the basis for the work in the exhibition,” she added.

Always interested in “found” materials and their integration with painting, photography, assemblage and sculpture, Muss has used the purity of light in the direct contrast to the roughness of ordinary materials. However, her dialogue is not just about materials. As in her “Open Doors” series, the works are constructed to convey a universal message, often a revelation delivered through references to words present in spiritual sources symbolized by a journey through a doorway or portal. She considers them a “metaphorical representation of our path in the world,” for shared passages and mirrored experiences.

The presence of light and mirrors and the physical effects of a simple neon tube or a backlit photograph (“Umbra I and II”) are a steady material presence for a message that may range from the obvious to the illusive. In “Stretchers,” real objects used to transport wounded and deceased military victims of war take on a new meaning when elevated and placed against a wall like a painting and illuminated by phrases that vary from words of love to the crudeness of the frustrated and hopeless, as one could imagine the last words of a soldier. Throughout her practice, Muss has followed a pathway of illumination.

Sandra Muss is an American artist whose multi-media works explore the complex relationship between spatial, temporal, and mystical realms of human experience. Muss was the Pulse Art Fair Project Artist for 2019. Her work was exhibited at the Villa San Michele in Florence, Italy, and in the Americans in Florence exhibitions at the Stengel Collection in the Palazzo Rosselli del Turco in Florence in 2019. In 2018, she was in the Open Code Florence group exhibition in the Basilica of San Lorenzo and in Open Code Florence’s group exhibitions in Tokyo and Monte Carlo. In 2017, Muss created a permanent, site-specific installation for the Sculpture Garden at the Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C. In addition, her work has been exhibited at the Coral Springs Museum (Florida), Hollis Taggert Gallery (New York), Kelly Roy Gallery (Miami), New Gallery of Modern Art (Charlotte, North Carolina), and DTR Modern Galleries (Florida, Washington, D.C., and Boston). Muss lives and works between New York, Miami, and The Berkshires.

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