The Light Fantastic: Artists August Muth and Nola Zirin

November 2017

Santa Fe, New Mexico – Pasatiempo
Iris McLister

“Light is the faithful archivist of time,” reads the poetic tagline on artist August Muth’s website. Along with the paintings of Nola Zirin, Muth’s work is showing at Canyon Road’s OTA Contemporary in the exhibition Enigma. “The relationship between August Muth’s holography and Nola Zirin’s paintings is light,” said gallery owner and artist Kiyomi Baird. “Zirin’s work has a strong emphasis in color, which she uses to suggest light and shadow. On the other hand, the basis of Muth’s holography is the reflection of light, creating the color we see in each shape. When exhibited together, these two bodies of work speak to one another.”

Muth is a pioneer of a genre that’s still largely unexplored in fine art galleries — large-scale, single-beam holograms. “The essence of my work is light, and it’s experiential in context,” Muth said. It’s challenging if not impossible to perceive the visual impact of a hologram without seeing it in person; not even a video can really convey the dizzying depth of the medium. “From an early age, I had an interest in light,” he said. “In my teens, I made water-filled prisms and would shine Spectra colors on my family’s garage door. I also began making metal sculpture and jewelry focusing on highly polished reflective surfaces combined with opals. After studying art and physics at the college level, I saw a hologram and realized that holography tied all my interests together.” Muth cites inspiration from renowned artists James Turrell and Robert Irwin, but also from Albert Einstein. “In my perception,” Muth said, “the pursuit of science and the creative experience within art stimulate the brain in a similar manner.” In Please Stand By, a glowing circle overlays a translucent turquoise field of color. With its buzzing, glowy coloration and its central circle, the piece is reminiscent of Dan Christensen’s abstractions; the work would stand alone as a wholly contemporary piece, but the holographic element makes it transfixing.