Iridescence: Juried Competition


Iridescence is a visual phenomenon in which a surface appears to change as perspective or illumination is shifted. As I prepared for the process of selecting works for this juried exhibition (an endeavor both humbling and difficult), I contemplated the literal and metaphorical meaning of iridescence in an art context. To my mind, the very act of creating art is an attempt to illuminate the unseen or shift the viewer’s perspective; it is an iridescent practice. 

The artists in this exhibition approach the theme of iridescence from many different paths—medium or metaphor, optics or narrative. Through the use of myriad materials—butterfly wings, iridescent thread, paint, or metallic leaf—these artists transform the way we view the surfaces they create or the narratives they convey.
When describing his process, Paul Cézanne once wrote, “I become one with my picture. . .we merge in an iridescent chaos.” He describes a spiritual transcendence in the act of creation that many artists attempt to convey through their work. It is my hope that some of that endeavor can be gleaned through the works included in this exhibition. 


Bradley Sumrall is Curator of the Collection for the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, where he is
involved in building, researching and interpreting the nation’s most comprehensive collection of art of the American South. A native of Mississippi, he currently lives in the Historic Faubourg Tremé of New Orleans. He has written extensively on the art and culture of the American South, and has served as curator for over seventy museum exhibitions, including Piercing the Inner Wall: The Art of Dusti Bongé, The Whole Drum Will Sound: Women in Southern Abstraction, and Entwined: Ritual Wrapping and Binding in Contemporary Southern Art. His exhibitions have been reviewed in Art in America, Art Forum, Hyperallergic, Terremoto Magazine and Art & Antiques among other online and print publications. His books include One World, Two Artists: John Alexander and Walter Anderson, From Terra to Verde: The Art of Sharon Kopriva, Michel Varisco: Shifting, and Clementine Hunter: A Sketchbook.

A selection of top entries can be viewed in person at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum in the Universe Gallery.