Cube Gallery

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Petra Halkes

Tuesday February 16th, 2016 to
Sunday February 28th, 2016


Sun Feb 21st, 2016 — 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

This series of paintings by Petra Halkes is at once satirical, thought-provoking and inviting. A series of luminescent light bulbs are presented as so many suns, reflecting on our desire to control the night, keep the dark at bay through the invention of electric light.
In 1880 Thomas Edison's mathematician enthused about the potential of "the million domestic suns" presented by the glowing light bulbs and  fixtures that would ultimately come to light  our homes and institutions, our public spaces and the highways and by-ways of even the most remote corners of civilization.
This exhibition is Halkes' visualization  of the million suns now multiplied into billions to create an environment that shuts out nature completely, such as her depiction of a 26-foot fluorescent light bulb seemly installed in space. She presents the question: what if we no longer had to depend on the sun, but could regulate our lives with our own artificial light?
Besides satirizing the human desire to control nature, Halkes also finds a more amenable symbiosis of natural and electric light with her exploration of ordinary city scenes that turn otherworldly at night when the lights come on. Do not miss this show that explores the antagonism and protaganism of the light that surrounds us. 


ARTIST TALK - Thursday, Feb 25 at 7:00pm

Halkes will present a one hour talk, with projected visuals, about the attraction and cultural meaning of artificial light. This is a free lecture. Just drop in, or email if you need to reserve a spot.

Petra says of this lecture, "I will attempt to analyze my paintings, while wandering off into wider artistic, scientific, sociological and philosophical fields. 

Lights are taken for wonders in my paintings. In this lecture, I plan to trace my fascination with artificial lights by looking back at some of my paintings, as far back as the early nineties. I’d also like to share a collection of images of historical art works and thoughts on light, and recent light art that I have seen or found online.
The question I am trying to answer is, why am I and so many other people willing to attach a sense of wonder to electric lights, bestow other-worldly meaning to them, when we know that these lights are wholly artificial?"