Work

 

Gail Wight / Camelia Micantis / 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 16 x 16 inches framed / Edition of 6

Wight takes flight with The Hexapodarium. Gail Wight collected fly wings from succumbed flies, (imagine picking those tiny wings from decomposing fly bodies.) Magnifying the severed translucent wing many fold she ingeniously transformed these beastly leftovers into breathtakingly complex, exquisite botanical gardens.

 

Gail Wight / Ground Plane 8 / 2008 / ultrachrome print on Hahnemuhle sugarcane paper / 42 x 42 inches  (108.36 cm x 108.36 cm)

Ground Plane, prints formed from hundreds of exact-scale images of small animal bones formed into unique snowflake crystals. Selected from the Hadly Lab collection at Stanford University, the bones are from one to ten thousand years old.

 

Gail Wight / Ground Plane 8 / 2008 / ultrachrome print on Hahnemuhle sugarcane paper / 42 x 42 inches  (108.36 cm x 108.36 cm)

Ground Plane, prints formed from hundreds of exact-scale images of small animal bones formed into unique snowflake crystals. Selected from the Hadly Lab collection at Stanford University, the bones are from one to ten thousand years old.

 

Gail Wight / Ground Plane 12 / 2008 / ultrachrome print on Hahnemuhle sugarcane paper / 42 x 42 inches  (108.36 cm x 108.36 cm)

Ground Plane, prints formed from hundreds of exact-scale images of small animal bones formed into unique snowflake crystals. Selected from the Hadly Lab collection at Stanford University, the bones are from one to ten thousand years old.

 

Gail Wight / Center of Gravity / 2008 / 15 digital pigment prints on kozo washi paper, plexiglass, light, electronics, motion sensor, sound / 96 x 3 x 3 inches each

Center of Gravity is in a dark room. Upon entering, one encounters 8- foot vertically suspended plastic poles, the same size as core samples taken from the earth; only Wight’s core samples are constructed of 8-foot pigment prints, photographs of fragile environments taken on her travels. The images are viewed as though looking through a kaleidoscope. Each 5-inch-diameter pole is lined with one of the photographs, and internally lit. Moving through the various ecosystems the viewer hears recordings indigenous to the area, i.e. coyotes wailing, insects and birds calling. The sheer beauty of the installation belies the fact that as science moves forward to uncover the impact of global warming and human encroachment on fragile environments, those ecosystems are becoming the “disappeared,” the core samples our only link to the nature that once was.

 

Gail Wight / Center of Gravity (detail) / 2008 / 15 digital pigment prints on kozo washi paper, plexiglass, light, electronics, motion sensor, sound / 96 x 3 x 3 inches each

 

Gail Wight /Dahlia Calcitravi 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 16 x 16 inches framed / Edition of 6

Wight takes flight with The Hexapodarium. Gail Wight collected fly wings from succumbed flies, (imagine picking those tiny wings from decomposing fly bodies.) Magnifying the severed translucent wing many fold she ingeniously transformed these beastly leftovers into breathtakingly complex, exquisite botanical gardens.

 

Gail Wight /Centauria Insecta / 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 16 x 16 inches framed / Edition of 6

 

Gail Wight /Datura Dipteri / 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 16 x 16 inches framed / Edition of 6

 

Gail Wight /Arum Dipterius / 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 16 x 16 inches framed / Edition of 6

Wight takes flight with The Hexapodarium. Gail Wight collected fly wings from succumbed flies, (imagine picking those tiny wings from decomposing fly bodies.) Magnifying the severed translucent wing many fold she ingeniously transformed these beastly leftovers into breathtakingly complex, exquisite botanical gardens.

 

Gail Wight /Nelumbo Muscarii / 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 16 x 16 inches framed / Edition of 6

 

Gail Wight /Convallaria Alarium / 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 16 x 16 inches framed / Edition of 6

 

Gail Wight /Gazania Volo 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 16 x 16 inches framed / Edition of 6

 

Gail Wight / Land of Flies-Fall 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 15 x 120 inches framed / Edition of 6

The flies that became The Hexapodarium are assembled into lavish gardens representing 4-seasons. An exercise in extreme photography, these images contain between 500-600 layers. The seasonal gardens are populated with many plants and animals, not yet subject to the convergence that make up The Hexapodarium flowers.

 

Gail Wight /Wisteria Alaria 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 16 x 16 inches framed / Edition of 6

 

Gail Wight / Land of Flies-Winter 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 15 x 120 inches framed / Edition of 6

The flies that became The Hexapodarium are assembled into lavish gardens representing 4-seasons. An exercise in extreme photography, these images contain between 500-600 layers. The seasonal gardens are populated with many plants and animals, not yet subject to the convergence that make up The Hexapodarium flowers.

 

Gail Wight /Tulipa Volito 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 16 x 16 inches framed / Edition of 6

 

Gail Wight / Chrysanthemum Ichneumon 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 16 x 16 inches framed / Edition of 6

 

Gail Wight / Land of Flies-Spring 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 15 x 120 inches framed / Edition of 6

The flies that became The Hexapodarium are assembled into lavish gardens representing 4-seasons. An exercise in extreme photography, these images contain between 500-600 layers. The seasonal gardens are populated with many plants and animals, not yet subject to the convergence that make up The Hexapodarium flowers.

 

Gail Wight / Land of Flies-Summer 2014 / archival metallic pearl paper, archival digital print / 15 x 120 inches framed / Edition of 6

The flies that became The Hexapodarium are assembled into lavish gardens representing 4-seasons. An exercise in extreme photography, these images contain between 500-600 layers. The seasonal gardens are populated with many plants and animals, not yet subject to the convergence that make up The Hexapodarium flowers.

 

Gail Wight / Blow Out 1 / 2015 / dye sublimation print on aluminum / 20 x 16 inches / Edition of 4

Blow Out, forty-four prints of smashed test tubes, each reminiscent of an astronomical event and with a unique signature, as with snowflakes.

 

Gail Wight / Blow Out 6 / 2015 / dye sublimation print on aluminum / 20 x 16 inches / Edition of 4

 

Gail Wight / Blow Out 31 / 2015 / dye sublimation print on aluminum / 20 x 16 inches / Edition of 4

 

Gail Wight / Solar Burn: Mescaline / 2011 / burned vellum / 18 x 15 inches  (46.44 cm x 38.7 cm)

With wit and humor, Wight sets our imaginations in motion, in this instance, Gail came upon spider studies conducted in 1948, by a German pharmacologist, P. N. Witt, who conducted experiments to see the effects of drugs on spiders. The drugs administered were LSD, Mescaline, Chloral Hydrate, Caffeine, Benzedrine, and Marijuana. The results of his experiments – spiders get stoned, and spin webs reflective of their altered state! NASA also wanted to test the effects of spiders on drugs, thus in 1995 they replicated the German study with similar results – spiders get stoned, with the added dimension that web detection might be a good method of drug detection – so keep those drugs safely tucked away from spiders! Anyway, fast forward to our Stanford Professor, Gail Wight, who decided to replicate the altered webs on vellum, with the aid of a magnifying glass and the sun. Thus sat Gail, under her persimmon tree, with floppy hat and gloves, following the sun, rotating around the tree, slowly burning the spider web drawings on the vellum. You can bet there were many a spider hovering in the tree above.

Videos

 

Gail Wight / Abandon 1 / 2011 / 5:58 mins / From the hills above Montalvo Arts Center, Sunnyvale, CA during a summer month at their residency program.

 

Gail Wight / Homage to the Wind / 2012 / 16:09 mins /  Based on Josef Albers’ Homage to the Square paintings, these 5 videos, each approximately 3 minutes long, use Albers’ ideas about juxtaposition to see new qualities and relationships.

 

Gail Wight / Abandon 2 / 2011 / 6:37 mins / From the hills above Montalvo Arts Center, Sunnyvale, CA during a summer month at their residency program.

 

Gail Wight / Hydraphilia / 2009/ time lapse of Physarum polychephalum on tinted agar, shown on 9 monitors or as a projection

 

Dec 12, 2013Wider Vantages Are Needed Now, Times 18 | A Symposium at the deYoung Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco upon the occasion of David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition. Featured speakers include Lawrence Weschler (symposium curator), Florian von Donnersmark (director, The Lives of Others, The Tourist), John Gaeta (Academy Award-winning designer best known for his work on the Matrix film trilogy), Dennis Muren (Industrial Light and Magic), Alvy Ray Smith (co-founder, Pixar), Blaise Aguera y Arcas (Photosynth and Microsoft), Peter Norvig (Google), Daniel Crooks (Australian video artist slices and dices time and space), Trevor and Ryan Oakes (camera obscura tracings created without technology or equipment), Margaret Wertheim (The Institute for Figuring), Gail Wight (multi-screen videographer), Adam Curtis (BBC documentarian), Richard Benefield, (deputy director of the Fine Arts Museums and organizer of David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition).

BIO

The hierarchy of investigation required by technology, biology, zoology, psychology and all the -ologies acts as artistic fodder for Stanford Professor Gail Wight’s acrobatic, elegant reformulations. Wight’s confidence in conceiving projects that conflate art and science is just the beginning of her genius. Her wit and humor are matched easily by her elegance of craft.

In her current body of work, The Hexapodarium, Wight takes fly wings she collected from succumbed flies, and magnifies them many fold, then composes exquisite botanical gardens that are breathtakingly complex. “Working primarily in sculpture, video, interactive media and print, I attempt to construct biological allegories that tease out the impacts of life sciences on the living: human, animal, and other. The interplay between art and biology, theories of evolution, cognition and the animal state-of-being are themes that have, over the last two decades, become central to my art.

Gail Wight’s continued interest in deep time is manifested in earlier exhibitions. In 2010 Wight took photographic records of early mammal skeletal remains, then recast the tiny bones as unique crystalline forms. With The Spider and the Fly, she expands upon the fossil record in the phenomena of flora which reference the existing specie, but with an exotic twist. The fossil record for insects dates back approximately 400 million years. Often, when I find an expired fly on my studio windowsill, Iʼm comforted by the knowledge that these small creatures will most likely be glancing their way around spider webs long after the human-centric environment outside my window has disappeared. Thereʼs a lovely concept in biology called “convergence”, which attempts to explain the emergence of similar characteristics among vastly different plants and animals. In The Spider and the Fly, I toy with the visual manifestations of convergence, and hint at potential psychological similarities.”

Gail Wight is Associate Professor in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University where she teaches Experimental Media Arts. She holds an MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute where she was a Javits Fellow, and a BFA from the Studio for Interrelated Media at Massachusetts College of Art. Wight’s work has been exhibited internationally, in venues including the Natural History Museum in London; the National Art Museum of China in Beijing; Cornerhouse, Manchester; and Foxy Productions in NYC. Wightʼs art has been featured in Art & Science Now by Stephen Wilson; Ingeborg Reichleʼs Kunst aus dem Labor and Art in the Age of Technoscience; Sherry Turkleʼs Evocative Objects; thing world: International Triennial of New Media Art edited by Zhang Ga and Fan Diʼan; Kunst nach der Wissenschaft by Susanne Witzgall and the forthcoming Bioart by William Myers, as well as many other books and catalogs. Her exhibition record includes nearly two dozen solo exhibits throughout North America and Great Britain.  Among her many artist residencies are western Australia’s Symbiotica, Art & Archaeology at Stonehenge, the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, and San Francisco’s Exploratorium. Collections include MoMA, Yale University, San Jose Museum of Art, The Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Legion of Honor, Sevilleʼs Centro Andaluz de Art Contemporaneo; Rene di Rosa Foundation, and Berkeley Art Museum among others. Wight was nominated a Visionary Pioneer of Media Art by Ars Electronica in 2014.

Press

November 20, 2015
Art Practical
September 6, 2015
Stanford University News
January 31, 2012
San Diego Reader
December 3, 2009
Nature International weekly journal of science
March 9, 2008
Stretcher
February 6, 2008
Curative Projects Better Living Through Art
Press Continued