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Los Angeles artist's exhibit on display at South Dakota Art Museum

“Gisela Colon: PODS,” an exhibit by Los Angeles-based artist Gisela Colon opened Friday at the South Dakota Art Museum. Colon will speak about her work at the museum April 5. The reception will be from 5-7 p.m. with the artist talk beginning at 5:45. The public reception is free and open to the public with light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments served. The exhibit will run through July 8.

“PODS” contains large sculptural objects made of blow-molded acrylic plastic and iridescent and fluorescent pigments. Reflecting light from interior pigmented surfaces, their bulging forms seem to glow from within. Perceptual experience is heightened for the viewer as they move around the works—shapes, colors, light and shadows morph before their eyes. “Light is the ultimate material,” Colon has written.

Colon’s works are made at a repurposed plastics facility in Los Angeles, where the symmetrical, torqued shapes drawn by the artist are translated into full-scale wooden patterns for clear acrylic sheets. Heated in a giant kiln until semi-viscous, each sheet is then gently ballooned into a bulbous form, flat on one side and swelling to a predetermined maximum on the other, through the introduction of carefully controlled forced air. Colon’s numerous hues and tones, as well as the illusion of an embedded secondary form, are then generated—without the use of paint—through a laminating process that the artist chooses not to reveal. The hues permeate the materials themselves and are modulated by their juxtaposition in layers.

Colon regularly exhibits in galleries such as Los Angeles’ Diane Rosenstein and Houston’s McClain Gallery as well as public institutions like Ohio’s Butler Art Institute of American Art and the Germany’s Kunstmuseum Wilhelm-Morgner Haus.

South Dakota Art Museum Exhibits Curator Jodi Lundgren said Colon’s first exhibition in South Dakota is part of the museum’s focus to bring high-quality international exhibits that stretch perceptions and welcome visitors of all ages.

“Gisela Colon’s works have such a vibration of the pure, elemental experience of light and color,” Lundgren said. “As we have been installing ‘PODS,’ we’ve experienced what others described as the exhibit’s distinctive and semi-magical effects.”

Lundgren planned the exhibit so one is surrounded by wall-hung biomorphic forms in multiple glowing hues that seem to transmute, interacting in new and unpredictable ways, with every variation in the room’s illumination and every shift of the viewer’s perspective.

“Light and Space, also known as the ‘L.A. Look’ or ‘Finnish Fetish,’ was a unique California-based movement that evolved out of geometric abstraction, minimalism and op art in the 1960s. Artists used mechanically precise and minimalist forms often made of glass, resin and cast acrylic to explore the phenomena of light,” Lundgren said. “The movement of light through space and materials was of primary importance. Volume, scale and a sense of space were also important and several artists created immersive installation environments as well as discrete objects. These works both stimulate a heightened sensory awareness and serve as a kind of ‘aesthetic palate cleanser.’ James Turrell is one of the most well-known artists of this movement.”

This exhibition is organized through Katharine T. Carter and Associates.

About the South Dakota Art Museum
The South Dakota Art Museum is located at 1036 Medary Avenue in Brookings and is open weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Beginning April 8, the museum will resume being open Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission to the museum is free. Parking is also free in the museum’s reserved lot just west of the museum on Harvey Dunn Street. For more information call (605) 688-5423, email or visit