Bruce Munro’s ‘Desert Radiance’ Illuminates Scottsdale

British artist Bruce Munro’s work has been displayed throughout the world, from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

In 2015 and 2016, Munro will unveil his most highly anticipated series of light-based installations to date in greater Scottsdale.

Munro’s work is the subject of an unprecedented cultural collaboration entitled “Desert Radiance,” allowing the artist solo experimentation in scales and environments, from land mass to water, and the domestic to the panoramic. The Desert Radiance collaborators include some of the greater Phoenix area’s preeminent arts organizations, including a newly-commissioned indoor installation at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and site-specific outdoor installations at the Desert Botanical Garden and on the Scottsdale Waterfront, where Munro is the lead artist for Scottsdale Public Art’s annual Canal Convergence event. This alliance of arts presenters is completed by Lisa Sette Gallery’s offering of diverse video installations—including two recently conceived pieces—and smaller scale light-based artworks.

With these four distinct exhibitions, “Desert Radiance” marks the first time Munro will have multiple installations within just a short drive of one another. Experience Munro’s genius using light and mixed media in the distinct Sonoran Desert setting with visits to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, the Arizona Canal, Desert Botanical Garden and Lisa Sette Gallery.

The first exhibit in the “Desert Radiance” series will open at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art(SMoCA) on Oct. 3. “Ferryman’s Crossing” showcases artwork inspired by Herman Hesse’s novel, “Siddhartha,” a story of one man’s spiritual journey. For the artwork, Munro transcribed a passage from the book into Morse-code. Gentle pulses of light shimmer across the reflective surface of ordinary recycled compact discs, evoking sunlight bouncing off the surface of flowing water.

  • Exhibit dates: Oct. 3, 2015 – April 24, 2016
  • Admission: $7 for adults; $5 for students; free for children 15 and under; free all-day Thursdays, and Fridays and Saturdays after 5:00 p.m.

Partnering with Scottsdale Public Art, Munro will bring “Blooms” to the Arizona Canal in November. Seven circular platforms, each carrying 100, 10-foot fiber optic fishing rods, will float along the surface of the canal. The fishing rods in the installation reference the eco-system of the Arizona Canal, which is populated by White Amur fish that can be caught and released. The installation will remain on view during Scottsdale Public Art’s Canal Convergence event, a festival of large-scale and interactive temporary public artworks, running Feb. 25-28, 2016.

  • Exhibit dates: November 2015 – March 2016
  • Admission: Free

Starting November 22, head further south to Desert Botanical Garden to see eight of Munro’s site-specific installations during “Bruce Munro: Sonoran Light at Desert Botanical Garden.” Some of the artworks exhibited reflect Munro’s unique interpretation of the flora and fauna found in the Sonoran Desert landscape. Highlights include “Water Towers,” 69 individual towers staggered among the Garden’s iconic saguaros, and “Field of Light,” more than 30,000 individual spheres that will delineate the land mass of Papago Butte. Also be sure to stop by the Garden’s Sybil B. Harrington Succulent Gallery to get a firsthand look at “Chindi,” which in Navajo means dust devil. “Chindi,” is comprised of three prismatic spirals suspended by Munro.

  • Exhibit Dates: Nov. 22, 2015 – May 8, 2016
  • Night admission: $25 for adults; $12.50 for children ages 3-12; free for children 3 and under
  • Day and night admission: $30 for adults; $15 for children ages 3-12; free for children 3 and under

Desert Radiance continues with Bruce Munro at the Lisa Sette Gallery, where Munro will present a range of new small-scale works, including digital light projections and suspended artworks. This is the first gallery showing of pieces from the artist’s “Language and Light” series, which incorporates light translated into Morse code. It includes “Ferryman’s Crossing II”, a digital-light variation of Munro’s artwork at SMoCA, which continues Munro’s investigation into Hesse’s work. Also on display, “Eden Blooms” a suspended sculpture that’s a smaller-scale version of one of Munro’s pieces at Desert Botanical Garden. Catch a glimpse of “Restless Fakir,” which references Munro’s childhood in England, viewing an exotic world via television.

  • Exhibit Dates: November 7, 2015 – Jan. 2, 2016
  • Admission: Free

British artist Bruce Munro is best known for creating large and immersive light-based installations inspired by his interest in shared human experience. Recording ideas and images in sketchbooks has been his practice for over 30 years; by this means he has captured his responses to music, literature, science, and the world around him for reference, reflection, and subject matter. As a result, Munro produces both monumental temporary experiential artwork and intimate story pieces.

Born in London in 1959, Munro’s passion for light as a medium began in Australia. After completing a Fine Arts degree in England in 1982, Munro began working in design and lighting in Sydney where he was inspired by Australia’s natural light and landscape. He returned to England in 1992 and settled in Wiltshire, where he raised four children with his wife. Following his father’s death in 1999, Munro felt compelled to continue to pursue his artistic passions. His work has been shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Waddesdon Manor, the Rothschild Collection in Buckinghamshire; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

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