Beginning the week of October 22, 2001, Stephen Antonakos returns to the Smith College campus to install a neon "light drawing" entitled Once, Again. The college has commissioned this permanent installation for the ceiling of the Neilson Library Passageway. On November 8, the sculpture will be officially dedicated, and at 4:30 pm the artist will present a free, informal slide lecture in Seelye 201.
Antonakos was previously the subject of a 1997 exhibition at the Smith College Museum of Art, Inner Light, which featured the artist's small-scale neon panels. Neon tubes hidden behind the gilded and metallic-leafed panels created a soft glow that evoked the idea of Othodox Christian icons surrounded by sublime halos of light. He is represented in the museum's collection by the neon panel Archangel Gabriel, which was displayed in the Inner Light exhibition.
His new installation at Smith marks a return to a style for which he is better known: spare, elegant compositions of exposed glowing lines and fragmentary geometric shapes. Unlike some art incorporating directly transmitted lightsuch as the fluorescent tube creations of Dan Flavin generally associated with the minimalist impulseAntonakos emphasizes the expressive qualities of the boldly colored neon medium, which he uses to create a "kinetic, emotional, and mental response" on the part of his viewers.