LIGHT YEARS: The Art of Rudie Berkhout opening at The IMC Lab + Gallery on October 27, 2011.

New York, New York – October 14, 2011 - The IMC Lab + Gallery is pleased to present LIGHT YEARS: The Art of Rudie Berkhout, which will be open from October 27-December 22. This show spans a lifetime of work by Rudie Berkhout (1946-2008), whose art was an expression of his desire to paint with light through the various disciplines of holography. LIGHT YEARS explores three primary periods of Berkhout’s artistic oeuvre: transmissions, reflections, and lasers.

Berkhout’s earlier work was within the realm of white light transmission, which is a hologram that is backlit, transmitting and amplifying a projected white light through its surface. The light is manipulated as it makes its way through the holographic medium on a molecular level so that it can give the illusion of three-dimensionality. These works range from formal abstractions to portraits to landscapes, always exploring the movement of light through space.

Throughout the years, Berkhout continued to search for ways to use pure light alone as his subject matter as well as his medium, reducing or eliminating any actual objects in his holograms. By the mid 90’s he was applying all that he had learned from transmission holograms to working with reflection holograms. The term “reflection” comes from the fact that the holograms are lit from the front, with the light hitting the back surface and reflecting outward. It is the same method used by old masters who would coat their paintings with layers of varnish to increase the luminosity and richness of their colors. The challenge with reflection holograms is that they are rarely as bright as transmission holograms for the obvious reason that any object transmitting light is likely to be brighter than one merely reflecting light. But through his own diligent experimentation Rudie discovered his own means of making reflection pieces as bright as transmissions, bringing his process and his imagery to a new level of sophistication.

Through the early 2000’s Berkhout continued to play with light and explore new ways of using holography in artistic contexts. He developed a type of holographic diffraction grating that, when used as a sort of “lens”, could disperse a laser beam into a myriad of precise dots of light. This led him to create wall sculptures that also functioned as ambient lighting for interiors. His favorite new direction was making mobiles out of odd-shaped pieces of holographic material and lighting them with lasers. The result is a dazzling explosion of light glancing randomly off walls and ceilings, as any slight air current makes the holographic bits dance before the laser light that they are diffracting. Rudie was working on this direction at the time of his death in 2008. He was liberating holography from the confines of a small square on the wall to an all-surrounding environmental installation.

Because Rudie was one of those rare personalities whose aptitudes and curiosity were equally divided between science and art, he was predisposed to searching for ways of combining them, revealing the inherent beauty in technology as he saw it. Although he grew up in an analog world, he looked to the future and was determined to share his excitement about using cutting edge technology as an artistic medium.

This show is curated by Fred Berkhout, Hudson Talbott, Carrie Elston Tunick, and James Tunick.



Reflection Hologram


Approx. 18" x 14"

From a series of abstract, shaped pieces. Berkhout is using an odd, geometric shape to draw a tension between its two-dimensional graphic form and its ethereal three-dimensional holographic content; an abstract pattern of fluid, rippling streamers of light. He is incorporating departing from the more typical approach of creating a "window" to view an illusion.

Unique piece





Light Flurries #9


Reflection Hologram

20" x 24"

Unique piece



This piece represents the sum of the artist's mastery of his medium at the time of his death. The brightness, the size, the magnificent use of color, and the dramatic composition remain unparalleled in the world of holographic art.



Laser Mobile Installation


2011 ( completed posthumous)


Laser mobile Installation made of odd-shaped pieces of holographic optical
elements (H.O.E.s), suspended at various heights by monofilament from thin rods of
balsa wood to maximize to facilitate their mobility. Lit by small lasers, the moving H.O.E.s
diffract flecks of light glancing randomly throughout the space.




Strawberry Haze


Ambient Interior Lighting

Three 5mw red lasers illuminating small pieces of holographic optical elements.

The electrical wiring is incorporated into the esthetic as well as the structure of the pieces.




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