Even the weekend's evening showers, lightening and thunder could not dampen the glow of British artist Bruce Munro's Field of Light, which fills the Discovery Green oak alley with an incandescent garden of luminous orbs in an ever-changing array of gentle colors.
This not-to-be-missed iconic optical fiber installation, which has traveled the world in various forms, each site specific, will light the majestic Brown Promenade through Feb. 8. It is one temporary art installation that will truly embrace the viewer's heart. Fantastical, beautiful, romantic, divine — adjectives to describe this engaging work are endless.
The magnificent work includes 4,500 radiant, frosted glass spheres atop slender stems connected by 23 miles of illuminated fiber optic coils.
Though it rained heavily on the official opening on Saturday night, Field of Light was not diminished in the least other than the the fact that the opportunity to stroll the enchanting path of light became a rather soggy experience.
Still, there were visitors with umbrellas trekking through the water-filled sidewalk to experience the glow. Some felt it was reminiscent of the field of poppies in The Wizard of Oz. Others saw a garden of light and still others interpreted the dancing orbs as gigantic fireflies.
"My goodness, I never thought that I would be standing here talking to you 14 years later (after his original Field of Light) in Houston, Texas," said Munro, who has been in Houston for the installation and was guest of honor at the Discovery Green party at The Grove launching the installation.
The creative talent who says he has been "making art since old enough to hold a pencil" found inspiration for his Field of Light far from home. "The inspiration came from Australia. My fiancée and I were living in Australia and we traveled to the Red Centre and got to Uluru and it was a reaction to that space."
The first Field of Light was created in the back of his farmhouse in England. He used part of his house mortgage to pay for the installation. "That was my first piece of work which was life based and very much based on my sketch books," he said. "My sketch books have been going on since I was 14."
The magnificent work includes 4,500 radiant, frosted glass spheres atop slender stems connected by 23 miles of illuminated fiber optic coils. "We try to color them in a very soft and gentle way in order to get a very subtle effect," Munro explained of the pinks, greens and pale yellow hues that rotate through the color cycle.
"This is the initiation of a world class art program here at Discovery Green," Judy Nyquist said.
In addition to his installers from England, the project took 200 hours over six days to install, much of the work contributed by 40 local volunteers.
"First of all this isn't me," Munro demured. "Houstonians are amazing people, very responsive . . . We had the volunteers with up to 100 people asking to participate and I'm sad that we couldn't let everybody join in . . . I very much love installation work which involves people. I'm just one small piece in a bit of the cake."
The Discovery Green installation is the first endeavor of the park's newly-organized public art committee headed by collector Judy Nyquist. "This is the initiation of a world class art program here at Discovery Green," she said. "And to have on-going temporary public art displays here is the perfect location. Our audience is so international at GRB and it was just waiting to happen. It was a marvelous confluence of many things."
Discovery Green president Barry Mandel echoed the sentiments of many attending the opening ceremony. "It's the first venture out for our public art committee and they have just knocked it out of the park with this one. "
"The idea came around with our fifth anniversary and what was going to be the focus of our next five years. What mark was it going to make, not just on this city but regionally and nationally," Mandel continued. "It has been such a pivotal point for the development around of the east side of downtown. We decided that we really wanted to make an impact via public art on a temporary basis in the park. "