Jakob LeBaron Dwight

A multifaceted video artist explores the communicative effects of light

by Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi


Mentioning an artist in the same breath as Jeremy Blake isn’t something to take lightly, but New York-based video artist, Jakob LeBaron Dwight’s current solo show at L.A.’s Papillion Institute of Arts proves the comparison holds up. With multifaceted training as philosopher, painter and videographer, his studies have converged into a body of work that’s imbued with a sense of organic experimentalism both deeply personal and with psychic overtones.

Dwight’s exploration using light as a medium is a through-line in his video installations, seizing on the “strong pathway already set up in our brains for illuminated imagery and information” to rewire our existing schema of light patterns on screen. In talking with the artist about the show and his works, it became clear that it’s not so much that Dwight is criticizing the banal utility of light in the present digital age (as he relies on the very medium), but more that he pushes people to “discover what communicative effects it may have in the realm or context of abstraction and the art experience, or even in the area of healing and psychology.”

For example, a piece like “Black Mirror” (above) provides ample space for the viewer to project their own emotions and ideas. Watching it left me in a transcendental space, reliving fond memories of my aunt’s African bazaar littered with Kente, Adire, bogolan and many more textiles. I saw myself in that visual tessellation and it felt wholesome.

Following the successful launch of his multi-disciplinary event JLD Studio at NYC’s White Box gallery space last year, his current show positions his conceptually palliative video work as a novel way to anticipate the function of light in society.


The solo exhibit is on view through 27 February 2010 at Papillion Institute of Art.