The exhibition Will-o’-the-wisp by Joy Feasley and Paul Swenbeck creates an immersive environment of light, sound, and sculpture that nods to history and folklore to weave a mesh of ideas about the perception of light and color. In their recent project, Out, Out, Phosphene Candle at the John Michael Kohler Art Center, Feasley and Swenbeck touched on these ideas through the exploration of shared internal visual experience. Phosphenes are the twinkling colored lights we see when our eyes are covered, this phenomenon was described in the Kohler exhibition through paintings, prismatic photographs, and a large-scale, kinetic light show.
For CMCA, Feasley and Swenbeck, who live part of the year in Stockton Springs, Maine, will expand on this vision in a way that ties to Maine’s unique history in anticipation of the State’s Bicentennial. The paintings and objects in the exhibition will be tied closely to the tradition of light in sublime landscape painting, examining their personal connection to the artist Alice Kent Stoddard and her cousin Rockwell Kent, a stalwart of Maine’s history of landscape. The Kents were a part of an artists’ group on Monhegan Island that met at the Wik Wak, a fishing shack that is now under the care of Joy’s family. Many of the prism photographs included in exhibitions were taken in Maine on Monhegan or Mt. Desert Island. Will-o’-the-wisp is an exploration of how the landscape ties in with a feminist idea of independence and self-reliance.
Joy Feasley (b. 1966) studied at Massachusetts College of Art, Cooper Union, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Her work exhibited in museums include the Institute of Contemporary Art and The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan. She has had exhibitions at Adams and Ollman in Portland as well as Vox Populi in Philadelphia. She has received numerous awards and commissions including the Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2010.
Paul Swenbeck (b. 1967) graduated with a degree in ceramics from Massachusetts College of Art in 1991. His work has been exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Morris Gallery, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Fleisher/Ollman, Philadelphia; Vox Populi, Philadelphia, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston.