“Artina 2020: Light: A Sculptural Solar Dance” offers 11 sculptures by eight artists. Some of the pieces existed long before curator María Gabriela Mizes, director of registration at Glenstone Museum, began to select the work. Others were made especially for the show, and several of them are site-specific. All are scattered around the seven-acre property, which is well-suited to social distancing.
Two colorful pieces most conspicuously beckon to passersby from the adjacent Olney Sandy Spring Road: Jean Jinho Kim’s “Sun Burst” and Sarah Rodman’s “Be Here Now.” They also demonstrate the wide range of styles and materials.
Kim’s sculpture is far from traditional. Like most of her creations, it’s made primarily from prefabricated metal downspouts. This time, they’re arranged in a tight circle, and each is painted a single bright color and bent at the top. The result is bright, playful and contemporary, while retaining the solidity that characterizes pre-modern sculpture. “Sun Burst” suggests motion without moving.
Although it also cycles through the spectrum, Rodman’s piece is quite different. It’s composed of semi-sheer fabric panels, embellished with sequin patterns — inspired by constellations — that are kept in perpetual motion by breezes. Since the panels are hung on a trellis that leads to the museum’s entrance, “Be Here Now” is attached to the location literally as well as conceptually.
The same is true of Marc Robarge’s “Tree of Illuminations,” which festoons a large tree with hanging jars, on which crowdsourced words and phrases have been handwritten. According to the artist’s statement, participants chose text they consider “synonymous with illumination.”
The writings, which includes the phrase “racism hides in the dark,” make the show’s only explicit link between light as a physical force and as a metaphor for understanding. But “Tree of Illuminations” is not “Artina’s” only political statement.
“Renewable Energy Policies” is an oil barrel on which artist Davide Prete has placed a wax model of the U.S. Capitol. (By the afternoon of the show’s opening day, the miniature building had already melted into unrecognizability.) Buried just below the level of the grass that surrounds it, Ira Tattelman’s “Photosynthesis” arranges castoff telephone cords in a “pool” simulated with glass and a mirror. The 3-D collage functions as both a tribute to, and a parody of, the processes that renew the natural world.
The jars that Robarge has hung in that tree are colored in shades of yellow and orange, with the darker shades closer to the ground. This color scheme, which gives the overall composition a sunny glow, mirrors that of a work by Carol Brown Goldberg. Conceived as part of a series that adapts paintings into sculpture, Goldberg’s “Sundance” is made of aluminum and automotive paint. The seven stacked metal rounds can be seen as purely geometric, but the title embraces the primal association of circles and hot colors with the sun.
Two other aluminum sculptures, both by Jeff Chyatte, feature swirl-patterned “skins” that encourage sunlight to flicker across them. In another setting, Chyatte’s “Resolute II” would be most notable for its power, and “Labyrinth” for its intricacy. Here, what catches the eye is how the surfaces catch the sun.
While most of the artworks engage light passively, a few take a more active approach. James Mallos’s “Noon Meeting” positions mirrors to reflect a light pattern every midday, as well as at the autumnal equinox (Sept. 22). Kim’s two downspout assemblages are equipped with solar-powered LEDs — including black lights — that will dance the sun’s recycled light across them even after dark. “Artina 2020” is open only during the day, but a light show will beckon to passersby on Olney Sandy Spring Road all night long.
Artina 2020: Light: A Sculptural Solar Dance
Sandy Spring Museum, 17901 Bentley Rd., Sandy Spring. sandyspringmuseum.org.
Dates: Open daily, dawn to dusk, through Nov. 7 on the museum grounds. The museum itself is closed.