Harwood Museum of Art Exhibits “Debbie Long: Light Ships”

Thursday , August 11th, 2022

11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

$10 Adults $8 Seniors (65+) $8 Students $8 Group admission Free: Harwood MEMBERS 18 and under UNM faculty and students Sunday to Taos County residents Military with ID and their families Tribal members

Harwood Museum of Art


Harwood Museum of Art Exhibits “Debbie Long: Light Ships” 
Long Sculpts with Glass and Nature’s Light to Create Unfolding Experiences of Natural Time
Taos, NM, 11/22/21 – The Harwood Museum of Art is pleased to announce its spring 2022 exhibition of Debbie Long: Light Ships (Mar 19, 2022 – Oct 23, 2022). Born and raised in the spacious landscapes of New Mexico, Debbie Long considers the land, sky, and light among her primary influences. Her immersive environments are small rooms, or Light Ships, lined with hundreds of handmade cast glass pieces that engage with light from the sky and respond to shifts in sunlight and moonlight, as well as to clouds and lightning flashes. As the light in the sky changes, the interior spaces of the Light Ships glint, glow, dim, brighten, and change color in real time. A viewer entering one of Long’s Light Ships is invited to sit, slow down, and become a witness to the continual conversation between light and time. Debbie Long is based in Taos, New Mexico, and has shown her work nationally and internationally. Curator Nicole Dial-Kay collaborated closely with Long to develop this exhibition which is the Harwood’s first foray into showing such immersive and site-based works. The Harwood, which has previously exhibited Debbie Long’s work, is honored to host her first solo museum exhibition. Sponsors of Debbie Long: Light Ships include Larry Bell Studio and The Mimi Saltzman Family Foundation.
“Debbie Long is a land artist,” says Dial-Kay. “Land art has a long history in the Southwest, including Charles Ross’ Dwan Light Sanctuary and Walter de Maria’s Lightning Field in New Mexico. She comes from the tradition of Robert Smithson, Nancy Holt, James Turrell and Charles Ross. Her work is really a conversation with nature, and with light, particularly the sky.”
Dial-Kay notes that Debbie Long’s immersive environments can also be seen in the lineage of Light and Space artists like Robert Irwin and Larry Bell. However, Long’s work is foremost driven by her direct experience of growing up and living in the desert Southwest. While the works tout the scale of a land art work, Long has built each piece of her environments slowly, intimately, and by hand.
Representing the last decade of Debbie Long’s career, the Harwood exhibition includes three components. A land-based Light Ship called Willa, made from a gutted out 1970s recreational vehicle, will be placed outside of the Harwood. Visitors can slip off their shoes and enter Willa to experience the Light Ship by sitting on white bean bags in a white room with light-reactive, amber-colored glass pieces secured to the walls. Viewings will take place through reserved time ticketing. Inside the museum’s Peter and Madeleine Martin Gallery, Long has created another Light Ship experience using plywood, sheetrock and glass forms lit by the natural light pouring through the windows of the museum’s upstairs. Finally, an original film depicting Willa in a remote New Mexico desert landscape gives viewers a sense for the land art component of the Light Ships.
Looking to the future, Long emphasizes that the completion of the art experience will occur when Willa is placed at the end of a long dirt road in a remote landscape. To see Willa, visitors will have to travel there. For Long, this journey is a critical part of the Light Ship experience she has worked for so many years to create. In the remote landscape, Long says, viewers will have access to the piece for an extended timeframe to experience moonlight at 3 a.m. or the delicate shifts of light at sunrise. She wants people to slow down and notice where they are.
“For the last decade or more, my focus has been on these larger pieces which interact with the sky,” says Debbie Long. “These pieces are about slowing down and watching natural light cycles through the piece itself. What’s exciting about that to me is I create the setup, and then the sky just does its thing that it’s doing every day. The sun is rising and setting, the light changes over the seasons, and all of that plays out in real time inside the pieces.” Long emphasizes, “We’re connected to that light already through our circadian rhythms and our bodies. So, there’s an aspect of this work that is about pointing out what is already there.”
Born in Española and raised in the wide-open spaces of Gallup, New Mexico, Debbie Long earned a BFA in sculpture from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She furthered her education through apprenticeships with Adobe Bronze Casting Foundry in Albuquerque, NM and with Walentinowicz Glass Studio in Chicago, IL. After her arrival in 1993, Long quickly became part of a close-knit community of artists based in Taos including Larry Bell and Ron Cooper. She worked as studio assistant to Ken Price from 2006 to 2012.
Debbie Long’s work has recently been exhibited at High Desert Test Sites in Joshua Tree, CA in an exhibition curated by Dave Hickey, Andrea Zittel, Aurora Tang, and Libby Lumpkin; Chimento Contemporary in downtown Los Angeles, CA; the Harwood Museum in Taos, NM; Gallery 128 Lower East Side in New York City, NY; Vivian Horan Gallery in New York City, NY; Boston University’s Sherman Gallery in Boston, MA; and The Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Fe, NM.
Reviews and press include the BBC Culture London, UK; The LA Weekly, Los Angeles, CA; Artillery Magazine, Los Angeles, CA; ArtSlant, Santa Fe, NM; and Art Studio America, a new book about US Artists in their studios from Trans Globe Publishing London, UK. For more information, visit debbielong.net.
The Harwood Museum of Art, located at 238 Ledoux Street, “inspires a thriving creative community connected through excellence in the arts.” For more information, call (575) 758-9826 or visit harwoodmuseum.org.