Last Saturday, September 16th, a revolutionary all-female exhibition opened at the Museum of Neon Art. The exhibition, titled "She Bends", features female benders from across the world making their own work with their own hands.
Conceptual content and messaging is key to these artists’ work, stretching beyond neon’s traditional applications and exploring light as an art form.
This exhibition aims not only to highlight women in neon, but also the fact that all neon is handmade. The title itself relays an action, that of bending. What starts as a skill progresses into a devoted lifestyle for the artists in this show and many neon benders across the world.
Installing a show of only neon works is a challenging feat. Each piece creates a presence, an aura, if you will. Layout is a supremely important task - we had to make sure that each piece stood out on its own without the piece beside or adjacent to it affecting it in an adverse way. Some of the works had a huge amount of cast off light while others used softer gases. Even with the lights out, the room is bright and those softer pieces needed a space on their own to make an impact.
In some cases, the cast off light from a neon red piece creates a pink hue on a wall with a blue neon. Does this work for the piece? Does it not? Many times, we worked blindly and by instinct because, after all, hanging neon is not as simple as hanging a painting. While you don't know what it will look like next to this piece or that piece, we can't very well keep putting works up and taking them down if they don't look right. Check out our installation recap in photos below. All photos credited to Brock Brake.