East & West Gallery

what opens—like a blaze of fire (for Joyce Sutphen & Galilee Peaches)

Charles Matson Lume
November 6–December 12, 2021

Artist Talk: Thursday, December 2, 6:30–8:00pm (Visual Arts Building lecture hall) – join us for an in-person discussion with Charles Matson Lume, Joyce Sutphen and Galilee Peaches. Please RSVP here by Monday, November 29.

what opens—like a blaze of fire is a collaboration between Charles Matson Lume and poets Joyce Sutphen (Minnesota’s second Poet Laureate) and Galilee Peaches (interdisciplinary artist). Layered with themes such as the body, relationships, transitions and what it means to be “open”—to discovery, to change, to understanding the complexities of this world—Lume’s site-specific light installations rely on everyday objects and architecture to reflect and expand upon the poetry, and vice versa. This show is accompanied by a book created by the three artists, effectively intertwining visual art and the written word in the gallery space.

Jerry Poling, light, objects create sensory ‘blaze of fire,’ UW-Stout Highlights News Center

Sheila Regan, Dancing With What's Absent: 'what opens — like a blaze of fire' at St. Kate's, MPLSart.com


The ontological question of “being in the world” provokes my art. How does art participate in the complexity of “being in the world”? How we touch the world, and each other, matters. My art engages in this conversation via light, common materials, and architecture. 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.

My art sensually gives like a shadow, grounding and making space for sense. Yet it steers clear of the easy streets of slogans and didactics. This is difficult work, in part, because it does not tell one how to feel, nor point to how or what to know. Nonetheless, it generously gives viewers space to consider our world. It does not shout like our current media. The space it opens up for us is a human one that moves at a “walking pace” rather than a mechanically enhanced speed. This in turn provides time to open up into the art, experiencing it for what I believe it is: a memorable, sensorial human experience that humbly renews a sense of building the world toward arcs of freshness, beauty, and aliveness.

Another way of thinking about “being” or sense is Martin Buber, a Jewish mystic. In his text, Ich und Du (I and Thou), he discusses how one may relate to another. He believes a relationship taken with an “I and Thou” approach creates, paradoxically, a boundary, yet without limits. My art is about the “and” in the I and Thou. Light needs a surface to reveal itself. We need one another to “be” in the world. My art is a kind of wayfarer in this terrain, seeking a relational paradox of a boundary without edges.

Make of yourself a light.
– the Buddha


Charles Matson Lume is a visual artist whose art is engaged in the pas deux of light and matter. Like William Carlos Williams, Matson Lume believes, “It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.” His installations have been exhibited at institutions such as: the Irish Museum of Modern Art, (Dublin, Ireland), Babel Kunst (Trondheim, Norway), Kemijärvi Art Gallery, (Kemijärvi, Finland), and Hunter College, (NYC). He has received fellowships from the Bush Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Charles has participated in artist residencies located in: Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Ireland, and the US. He holds an MFA & MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BA in Psychology from Wheaton College. He has taught art at the university level since 1996, and currently is Professor of Art and Interim Associate Dean/Director, School of Art & Design at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Charles lives in Saint Paul, MN, and his art can be found online at the following curated artist registry:

White Columns (NYC) http://registry.whitecolumns.org/view_artist.php?a...

Charles Matson Lume is a fiscal year 2020 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Image Gallery

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