As an artist and lighting designer, my work explores the relationship between art and technology, as well as investigating the impact on the viewer or user. Merging a wide range of types of lighting and materials that interact with light, I create layered environments that play with themes of interactive observation, movement and user-behavior.
Lighting brings magic to any environment, energizing space with color, movement. It transforms the ordinary into the spectacular. Most lighting designers focus on nighttime lighting alone. Using light not only at night but also during the day through reflective materials, manipulation of sunlight and shadow, my studio designs for environments that speak poetically 24/7.
We design for the human experience in a space; how does the flow of traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian interact with a public art piece? How does the work dialogue rather than compete with the architecture, the character, or the functionality of the environment?
We play with interactive environments both with technology and materials. Using materials that shift, such as dichroic films that change color as the viewer moves past, or reflective surfaces that change as light moves across the surface, teamed with lighting applications that change in color and movement through solid-state technology or applications of video projection.
My work with light for large public spaces has allowed me to investigate cutting edge lighting applications from programmable LEDs to large format video applications and projection. Interactive capabilities allow the viewer to take part in the work, in ways that range for simply creating change by moving past the work to actively participating in the experience.
We have also explored the therapeutic applications of light. Using the same light wavelengths as used in light therapy, and nature based imagery used in arts therapy, large-scale 2-dimensional pieces pieces both calm and provoke. During a solo exhibit of my fiber-optic work in Cologne, Germany the curator witnessed many viewers sit down in the gallery for up to three hours and return multiple times to do the same. They did not want to talk to each other, or the curator; they just wanted to be there, sitting quietly with the work.
The calming physiological effect on the audience was unexpected, and I spent the next year researching to find a reason. I found the healing capabilities that exposure to images of nature, natural fractals, and repeated pattern has in reducing stress in the viewer, and improve overall health. We also found that particular wavelengths of light result in reduction of stress and actually calming of the body on a physiological level. New studies in the field of Neuroaesthetics are also showing how exposure to “beauty” specific to artwork has positive benefits on the brain.
We have the ability to create interactive engagement with multi-sensory components, incorporating light to create environments with the potential to calm, relieve, and heal. In public settings where the pace is fast, and stress is amplified, the choice for artwork that can help to reduce these feelings becomes important.
Lyn Godley began her career in Fine Arts, then spent 30 years working as a designer, bringing form and beauty to functional objects. Her work has crossed the borders of interiors, product, furniture, lighting, and jewelry. Her designs, done both individually and as partner of Godley-Schwan (1984-1998) with the late Lloyd Schwan, have been exhibited internationally. The Crinkle Lamp, the last piece designed jointly by Godley-Schwan, was accepted into the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in 1998. Their work is also in numerous public and private collections.
Of all of her design work, it is lighting that captured her soul and on which she has focused for the last twenty-five years. From chandeliers to full-scale illuminated evening gowns she has explored a wide range of light sources and effects. NYC’s Jewish Museum commissioned Lyn in 2003 to produce an 81-lamp menorah. In 2008 she designed a permanent installation of 7,100 programmable LEDs at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Pennsylvania that continually “draws in light” across the center’s facade. It was through lighting that she found her way back to art, in the form of drawings threaded with fiber optics. It has been this body of work, merging digital printing, pastel drawing, and fiber optics that led her to research the healing abilities of particular light wavelengths and nature-base imagery which has driven much of her fiber optic work. She is also regularly chosen for public art projects that explore the intersection of Light and Art in public spaces, most recently the Percent for Art commission for the Public Art at SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia set to install in late Fall 2015.
In addition to her studio work, she is an Associate Professor of Industrial Design at Philadelphia University.