Gail Wight is a contemporary American artist known for her experimental approach to art. She innovates in various mediums including sculpture, video, interactive media, silk and digital prints, and photography. On her technique, Wight says: “I enjoy developing novel ways of working with traditional materials, combining them with new technologies or with the living world and its detritus.” For example, she’ll photography and magnify fly wings and fossil bones, morphing them into beautiful, other-worldly designs. She focuses on themes such as the interplay between art and biology, theories of evolution, cognition, and deep time, and through this unique lens, Wight reframes ordinary, forgotten objects of the biological world into works of art.
Gail Wight’s wit and humor usually suspend our disbelief with her elegant reformulations. The artist uses wings she collects from succumbed flies and other insects, and magnifies them many fold creating breathtaking designs .“Working primarily in sculpture, video, interactive media and print, I attempt to construct biological allegories that tease out the impacts of life sciences on the living: human, animal, and other. The interplay between art and biology, theories of evolution, cognition and the animal state-of-being are themes that have, over the last two decades, become central to my art.”
Since 2003, Wight has been a Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University, where she teaches Experimental Media. Prior, she co-founded the Intermedia Arts Program at Mills College (Oakland, CA) where she taught for many years. She received her BFA from The Studio for Interrelated Media from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 1988, and her MFA in New Genres from The San Francisco Art Institute in 1994.
Her work has been exhibited internationally in venues including: The Natural History Museum, London, UK; the National Art Museum of China, Beijing; Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK; and Foxy Productions, New York City, NY. Wightʼs art has been featured in: Art & Science Now by Stephen Wilson; Ingeborg Reichleʼs Kunst aus dem Labor and Art in the Age of Technoscience; Sherry Turkleʼs Evocative Objects; thing world: International Triennial of New Media Artedited by Zhang Ga and Fan Diʼan; and Bioart by William Myers as well as many other books and catalogs. Collections include the Museum of Modern, Art New York, Yale University, San Jose Museum of Art, CA, Sevilleʼs Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo, Sevilla, Spain, Rene di Rosa Foundation, Napa, CA and Berkeley Art Museum, CA among others. Wight was nominated as a Visionary Pioneer of Media Art by Ars Electronica in 2014.
You can watch a conversation discussing her artwork and inspirations with art advisor Danielle Wohl in the Talks with the Artists interview series below.