British artist Bruce Munro specializes in immersive large-scale light-based installations and has created works for several metro Phoenix settings, including Lisa Sette Gallery and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. His installation for the Desert Botanical Garden opens Friday, November 20, and his installation for Scottsdale Public Art, already on view at the Scottsdale Canal, will be featured in the next iteration of Scottsdale’s Canal Convergence event. Collectively, these four installations are called "Desert Radiance."
Munro’s art practice comprises keeping journals in which he records and reflects on his experiences with nature, music, literature, science, and other elements of his everyday life — then calling on those observations and reflections to create light in ways that incorporate his penchant for reuse.
Objects used for his metro Phoenix works include compact discs, fishing rods, and plastic water bottles. Here’s the rundown on what Munro works you can see at various locations, and when those works will be on view.
Through March 2016
Munro’s Blooms installation for Scottsdale Public Art at the Scottsdale Waterfront comprises seven circular structures created with multi-colored fishing rods meant to reference the Arizona Canal’s ecosystem. Each structure, which includes 100 10-foot-tall fiberglass rods topped with stainless steel spinners and threaded with fiber optic cable, measures approximately 20 feet in diameter.
These circles, which are installed within a 750 section of the canal bookended by the Soleri Bridge and Plaza and the Marshall Way Bridge, are illuminated at night — so visitors experience different visual effects during daylight and nighttime viewing. The installation will be on view during Canal Convergence next Spring. The installation is free and open to the public.
The Avant Garde on Second Street, an arts and culture interest group created through Scottsdale Cultural Council for young professionals, is presenting a guided bus tour of Munro works at SMoCA, the Scottsdale Waterfront, and the Desert Botanical Garden on Thursday, November 19 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tickets, which include light refreshments, are $15. Find more information on the Scottsdale Public Art website.
Lisa Sette Gallery
Through January 2, 2016
Munro’s exhibition at Lisa Sette Gallery includes a work titled Cloud (previously titled Nine Clouds), designed specifically for the gallery, which pays homage to the William Wordsworth poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. The exhibition also includes an incandescent bed of nails titled Restless Fakir, a trio of hanging orbs titled Eden Blooms, and several works infused with Morse code.
These mixed media works were created using glass, wood, steel, optical fibre, light, and additional mediums. All are particularly well suited to the architectural features of this gallery, which include a luminous fabric scrim surrounding much of its exterior. The installation is free and open to the public during regular gallery hours. Find more information on the Lisa Sette Gallery website.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Through April 24, 2016
Munro’s Ferryman's Crossing for Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art comprises curving rows of compact discs infused with pulses of light, which are arranged on the concrete flooring of a gallery space. Exhibition materials note that “Munro conceived the installation as a meditation on Hermann Hesse’s 1922 novel, Siddhartha” — in which the ferryman’s journey is symbolic of enlightenment.
Like several works at Lisa Sette Gallery, it features Munro’s unique take on the language developed by artist and inventor Samuel F. B. Morse. Other light-infused works on view at SMoCA include Chris Faser’s Looking Back and James Turrell’s Knight Rise skyspace. Admission to the Munro exhibition is included with museum admission. Find more information on the SMoCA website.
Desert Botanical Garden
November 22, 2015 to May 8, 2016
Munro’s "Sonoran Light" at the Desert Botanical Garden comprises eight large-scale installations reflecting the artist’s unique interpretation of the Sonoran desert. These installations include Field of Light, which features 30,000 individual spheres of light, and Water-Towers, which includes 58 glowing towers placed among saguaro cacti.
Munro’s Temperate Zone references cooking pots created hundreds of years ago by indigenous desert dwellers, and his Saguaro conjures the artist’s first experience with the garden. Other installations include Beacon, Eden Blooms, Fireflies and a suspended installation titled Chindi. For 24 evenings garden visitors will also be able to see Las Nochas de las Luminarias.
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A day/night pass to see the Munro exhibition, which includes access to the entire garden during the day and just the installation at night, costs $30. A night pass, which includes viewing the Munro exhibition only, is $25.
Opening night for "Sonoran Light," which includes live musical performance and six food stations, takes place Friday, November 20, from 7 to 10:00 p.m. Tickets are $85 ($75 for garden members). An artist reception with Bruce Munro takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. that evening. Tickets are $250, and available only to garden members. Find more information on the Desert Botanical Garden website.
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.