WILMINGTON, NC—Silhouettes of light speckle the walls and ceiling in the Cameron Art Museum, as 42 lanterns welcome visitors to “Illumination.” The 2020 exhibit is going on its sixth year of marking the change of season as days are longer and darker, yet homes are brighter from the holiday season’s luminescence.
Annually, CAM puts out a call to artists worldwide for their interpretations of light. This year, amid a global pandemic, 50 responded.
“We asked artists to try to articulate through style, content, and material what light metaphorically means to them,” deputy director Heather Wilson said. “The artists reached deeply into their personal experiences this year and I think you can see that in the lanterns.”
Hampstead artist Deborah Bluestein and Raleigh-based artist Jeanie Redick took a literal approach in “Pandora Revisited.” They created a life-size plaster sculpture from model Tabatha Radaker, who is masked and placing the novel coronavirus into a trunk, i.e. Pandora’s box. All white, the sculpture shows a hint of blue from the surgical mask and golden rays emitting from the model’s chest.
Local artist and Williston Middle School art teacher Lisa Schnitzler created “The Electric Chair of Peace and Love.” The chair’s function is one of sound and vision: the chair is wired but with an angel’s harp.
Participating artists sent in lanterns from all across North Carolina but also Illinois, Virginia, California, even Canada. The exhibit is juried by local arts, civic, business and government leaders, with the top three winners taking home cash prizes. The judges take into consideration aesthetics, execution, conceptualism, presentation, and effectiveness of lighting while judging.
Also on display as part of “Illumination” will be the community lantern, made up of silhouettes of its participants from an event held Nov. 7.
“For CAM this exhibition is very meaningful,” Wilson added. “It connects us with the community of artists we serve in a reflective and wonderful way.”
“Illumination” opens Nov. 20, and live music will be featured from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. by Stevenson Stohl Suzuki Studio. Lantern winners will be announced after 5 p.m. All exhibits are open with CAM admission and the CAM Café will be serving drinks and snacks until 7 p.m. Masks and social distancing are required. “Illumination” will close Jan. 10.
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington.
When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.