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Professor’s art installation uses light, objects to create sensory ‘blaze of fire’

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Using light and everyday objects to create a unique sensory experience, a University of Wisconsin-Stout professor hopes that those who view his art will be inspired to see new possibilities in the world around them.

Charles Matson Lume’s latest installation, “what opens like a blaze of fire (for Joyce Sutphen and Galilee Peaches),” opened Nov. 6 and will be on exhibit through Sunday, Dec. 12, in the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery at St. Catherine University in St. Paul.

“Through the ephemeral and quick-silver properties of light, I think we can know ourselves better — thus knowing how we fit into contexts, histories, ways of being. In a hurried and harried capitalistic world, perhaps one of the most radical acts is sensing,” Lume said.

A visual artist whose work highlights the interplay and intersections of light and matter, Lume says his “art sensually gives like a shadow, grounding and making space for sense. It does not tell one how to feel. It generously gives viewers space to consider our world.”

The exhibit, funded with a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, includes a second aspect. Lume has collaborated with Sutphen, Minnesota’s second poet laureate, and Peaches, a 2018 UW-Stout studio art alum and artist, to create a complementary book about the exhibit. Peaches is a 2021-22 artist-in-residence at Second Shift Studio Space in St. Paul.

They are giving away 250 books to exhibit visitors.

Lume, Sutphen and Peaches will discuss the exhibit and book during an artist talk from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2, in the Visual Arts Building at St. Catherine.

Also, they are scheduled to be featured in a Minnesota Public Radio “Art Hounds” segment. Darren Tesar, UW-Stout art lecturer, will provide commentary.

Lume, of St. Paul, strives for art that creates “a memorable, sensorial human experience that humbly renews a sense of building the world toward arcs of freshness, beauty and aliveness.”

One of his installations was part of the July-to-October exhibit Many Waters: A Minnesota Biennial at the Minnesota Museum of American Art.

Along with teaching art, he is interim director of UW-Stout’s School of Art and Design; and interim associate dean of the College of Arts, Communication, Humanities and Social Sciences.

His work has been exhibited at museums and galleries in Ireland, Norway, Finland and New York City, among other places. He has had fellowships from the Bush and Jerome foundations and the Minnesota State Arts Board and participated in artist residencies in five northern European countries and the U.S.

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