They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In the case of artist John V. Muntean’s unique sculptures, beauty may be in the eye of the flashlight holder. Unlike traditional sculptures where "what you see is what you get", these carefully crafted wooden blocks are instead, only a piece of the puzzle. The real picture comes to life when the secret ingredient (light!) is added, taking you beyond the strange and jarring visuals of the surface.
Upon first glance, Muntean’s sculptures appear as a jumbled and chaotic mix of various shapes. Interesting, yes, but rather difficult to interpret and comprehend. However, when the sculptures are lit from above at a 54.7 degree angle, the crazy shapes and slopes begin to make sense. In the cast shadows, hidden images – the true visual goal of the sculpture- are revealed. As the sculpture turns, new images take form in the cast shadows, piquing thought, curiosity, and interest.
We can’t help but think of our own work when looking at Muntean’s sculptures. Often times we encounter a surface that appears quite flat, non-descript, uninteresting. To be blunt, it’s just boring. But once we use our lighting systems to illuminate the surface from behind, all sorts of hidden characteristics come to life. Subtle veins, color shifts, and pattern depths that were once invisible, instantly highlight and enhance, truly changing the appearance, and more importantly, our minds. It reminds us that the best visual is not necessarily what is on the surface. Latent beauty often lies hidden within, revealed through the precise execution of arrangements and technologies.
Can you think of any other instances similar to Muntean’s sculptures? Has light ever enhanced or revealed something more to you?
Image credits: John V. Muntean