Born Hong Kong, 1969. Lives Miami, FL
Western Sun, 2004
Fluorescent lights, fixtures
Collection Miami Art Museum, museum purchase with funds from the MAM Collectors Council
Credit line: Reproduced with the permission of the artist.
Photo credit: Nancy Robinson Watson
Mark Handforth taps the inherent formal qualities of large, everyday objects such as streetlights, I-beams, and highway signs. His work merges together an interest in the contemporary urban landscape; a Minimalist's emphasis on simple forms that interact with ambient space; a penchant for surreal effects; and a playful, Pop-Art sensibility.
Western Sun is part of a group of works that consist of fluorescent light fixtures installed directly into the gallery wall in pictorial arrangements - in this case, a partially setting sun disappearing into the floor. Dramatically, it immerses everything around it, including the viewer's body, in a red/orange glow. Handforth's self-apparent reference is to Minimalist artist Dan Flavin, who used fluorescent lights to direct the viewer's attention to the space surrounding the artwork as much as to the object itself. While Flavin only rarely diverged from wholly abstract compositions, Handforth's versions consist of simple, recognizable images such as suns, stars, and lightning bolts.