And There Was Light...

Location City Gallery
From Saturday 27 August 2022 -  10:00am
To Sunday 13 November 2022 - 04:00pm

Saturday 27 August 2022   10:00am

The Gallery is open daily from 10am to 4pm and entry is always free


And There Was Light…

Art from the permanent collection

Light is an important and often essential element in visual art. It gives the artwork structure, informing the viewer’s eyes that there are objects and shapes to be seen. It is this structure that keeps the eyes interested and focused on the artwork. Whether we realize it or not, how the artist uses ‘light’ can greatly affect how we perceive the work.

In the same way light lifts an artwork, it emphasizes features through highlights and shadow, and it also adds depth and life to the composition. The light determines the colours, the shading, and creates forms. Incorrect use or using not enough contrast in light can leave a composition dull and lifeless.

Artists have played with these observations for centuries, challenging the viewers the seeing and understanding of an artwork. It was in the 17th century Baroque Art that light became an important element for painting. Renowned Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio, introduced ‘chiaroscuro’ (the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, affecting the atmosphere of a composition) to heighten a dramatic depth to his master pieces. His work had a profound influence on the Baroque art world, including on artists such as Rubens and Rembrandt.

Ever since, artists have used light, both as a subject and a tool, to create certain effects and elicit emotion. In painting every brush stroke or colour is applied with the source of light in mind. In drawing, the artist uses values, or different shades of gray to translate light and shadows, creating the illusion of a third dimension. Hatching and cross hatching are simple techniques used for shading.

In photography light has several basic properties that can fundamentally influence a photograph. They include intensity, colour, quality and direction. Correct use of light impacts everything in a photograph including elements such as, character, separation, colours, textures, mood, and the story of the image. In fact, photography is light, without it, there is no image in the first place.  The word photography stems from Greek roots meaning ‘writing or drawing with light’.

In 3-dimensional work one can use directional light to create additional dimension and shadows, enhancing the notion of depth and detail.


Image: The Outside Stairs (1977), Chris Holden, Oil on hardboard, 122 x 91 cm (detail)

City of Bunbury Art Collection

Acquired 1977



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