Artist’s work is inspired by fascination with physics
Kent Sollenberger’s idea for his latest art exhibit came from his wife’s enthusiasm for online shopping while she was bed-bound with a leg injury.
“We were getting all these Amazon boxes and each had a big bar code,” said Sollenberger, a Sugar Land-based artist. “It’s this strong and graphic image with stark black lines and I thought, what if you fill in all the open space with color.”
His work has been showing at DesignWorks, an art gallery and interior design studio, 2119 Postoffice St. in Galveston’s downtown, and will run at least through May. A few remaining works will stay at the gallery, DesignWorks co-owner Stephen Lanier said. Sollenberger has been showing exhibits at DesignWorks since Hurricane Ike, which struck in 2008.
Sollenberger had approached the gallery and Lanier agreed to view his work. Lanier liked how it played with the eye.
“He seemed really interested in the optical illusions,” Lanier said.
Sollenberger’s art plays off his fascination with physics and layman study of science. He grew up listening to his aerospace physicist father and his thoughts on quantum physics, which inspired Sollenberger’s own interest. One of his earlier exhibits focused on the new concept of physics.
“Whatever I read on the topic of quantum physics, it always seems whimsically mysterious,” Sollenberger said in an earlier artist statement.
His work begins as a drawing on his iPad, and then translates to canvas, on which he uses acrylic paint, he said. He’s interested in bright colors that pop from the wall and are a complete contrast from the dark and dullness of bar codes.
“It’s very bright, but it’s not meant to be pretty,” Lanier said. “In the end, it’s somehow soothing.”
In his latest exhibit, Sollenberger, who also plays the drums, plans to eventually connect the bar code to corresponding music he creates.
“I like the element of mystery that the narratives might also contain information,” Sollenberger said. “It’s playing off the idea that there’s another layer of content.”