2018 | SL Gallery | Solo Show

Another year has passed and we've entered into 2018. With this new year, comes a solo show for Vicki at SL Gallery which presents works of art that merge contemporary art, lighting and technology. Founded by architectural lighting consultant Bill Schwinghammer, SL Gallery provides a space for artists using various mediums of light and technology to show and install their work. 

For this solo show at SL Gallery set to open on September 7, 2018, Vicki will present a new body of work which she is set to begin working on in early 2018. I'm excited for this new work and to see what direction she will take with it, as over the last 38 years, her work has evolved and changed in what may seem to be an obvious progression to viewers, but came almost naturally for her. The progression of her work changed as her life changed. For Vicki, the 80s began with an experimentation of light graffiti during undergrad in Kutztown, in her parents backyard, and then in her new home of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A two week trip to Paris in 1986 led her to meet her husband (my dad!) Antonio who began collaborating with her as the technical director in her work as he is a master electrician. This natural collab resulted in building pulley systems and hooking up 4ft and 8ft fluorescent lamps to them to create sheets of light in the late 80s and early 2000s. The pulley systems eventually turned into metal tracks in the early 2000s that could be bent to follow various landscapes all over the world. Naturally, Vicki then began to walk with the lamp, allowing for more control of the medium, just as she had when writing the light graffiti works in the 80s. 

The lamp has become a direct extension of herself, just as technology has become over the years up to present day. This natural progression of her work over the years is so great to see. What will 2018 bring?

  Mom&Dad , 1980

Mom&Dad, 1980

  You Said,  1984

You Said, 1984

 Duane Street, 1988

Duane Street, 1988

  Baseball Field 3 , 1988

Baseball Field 3, 1988

  Homage to Josef Albers 6 , 2003

Homage to Josef Albers 6, 2003

  Light Tartans Fountain Park 6 , 2008

Light Tartans Fountain Park 6, 2008

  Bring to Light 2 , 2011

Bring to Light 2, 2011

  Skipping Rocks , 2014

Skipping Rocks, 2014


Homage to Josef Albers Series

When it comes to any artist working with the interaction of color, it only makes sense that homage should be made to the master of color theory, Josef Albers. As someone working with both color and light, Vicki is constantly mixing the two, layering her bulbs with different colored gels and overlapping them during the time exposures. She began wrapping her hand held incandescent bulbs and 4ft fluorescent lamps in the 80s and when she met her husband, Antonio, who is an electrician, he was able to help her bring to life the idea of moving the lamps on pulley systems and metal tracks. This allowed her to move her light paintings towards images that contoured landscapes and created sheets of light virtually anywhere. 

In 2003, Vicki visited a steel bridge at one of her hometown parks, Lehigh Valley Parkway to make the Homage to Josef Albers series. Using 4ft fluorescent lamps and different colored gels, she wrapped the bulbs and connected them to a pulley system which was installed at the top of the bridge. The bulbs were slowly moved up the pulley system one at a time, and the second layer of different colored bulbs followed after. 

 Homage to Josef Albers #3, 2003

Homage to Josef Albers #3, 2003

 Homage to Josef Albers #4, 2003

Homage to Josef Albers #4, 2003

 Homage to Josef Albers #5, 2003

Homage to Josef Albers #5, 2003

 Homage to Josef Albers #6, 2003

Homage to Josef Albers #6, 2003

 Homage to Josef Albers #7, 2003

Homage to Josef Albers #7, 2003

McCarren Pool Series

While living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the 1980s, Vicki made a series of light graffiti drawings at McCarren Park Pool. At the time, the pool was an abandoned spot, graffitied over, and quite run down - which allowed for her to take up as much time and space as she wanted for the photographs.

Her works from the 80s and especially this series, are quick, raw, and experimental. She's drawing fast around the entire space, switching colors, and playfully including herself multiple times in each photograph. Once she leaves, no mark is left behind, and it is almost like she was never there.

 McCarren Pool 1, 1985

McCarren Pool 1, 1985

 McCarren Pool 2, 1985

McCarren Pool 2, 1985

 McCarren Pool 3, 1985

McCarren Pool 3, 1985

 McCarren Pool 4, 1985

McCarren Pool 4, 1985

 McCarren Pool 5, 1985

McCarren Pool 5, 1985

Art Therapy at The White House

Not My Hero, 2017

"Political art has doubts, not certainties; it has intentions, not programs; it shares with those who find it rather than imposing on them; it is defined while it is done; it is an experience, not an image; it is something entering the field of emotions, something that is more complex than a unit of thought. Political art is the art that is created when it is unfashionable and when it is uncomfortable, legally uncomfortable, civically uncomfortable, humanely uncomfortable."

- Tania Bruguera, cited from Art & Agenda : Political art and activism , Berlin : Gestalten, 2011

For Vicki, visiting The White House was used not only as a form of political art, but also as a form of art therapy. The act of going on site, setting up the equipment, and then physically writing with the lamp is her act of resistance. Indeed, the argument of whether it is successful in creating a movement of activism and resistance is a whole other question and would need to be looked at separately. This doesn't mean that it is not successful in raising awareness and creating communication. In this regard, to me, if an artwork creates any form of communication and public engagement, it is successful in terms of political art. 

This White House series was created over the term of two days earlier in 2017, on April 11th and 12th. A film permit was obtained by Vicki and approved through the Gov. Of D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment, allowing her to shoot for two days in front of The White House until midnight each night.

In finding content and text for this series and most of her Light Graffiti photographs, she pulls words directly from current events, pop culture, and political issues, sometimes mixing them with her own unique phrases, creating pieces like DonCon, and Deepest Throat

Deepest Throat, 2017
Delusional, 2017
DonCon, 2017

Turn the Lights Back on in Syria

Shining a light for OXFAM London to Act#WithSyria https://withsyria.com/ for the 4th tragic anniversary of the Syrian crisis.

Single frame time exposure light painting & light graffiti photograph created in London on the roof of the Trafalgar Hotel. Participants included Syrian activists Mustafa Haid, Husam Helmi, Reem Al Assil & children, Ghais Aljundi, Dr. Muhammad Najjar, Franca Fiabane, Rola Hallam, Sinan Al Hawat, Massoud Kasso, celebrities Christopher Eccleston, Nick Moran, Matt Berry, Sienna Guillory & Enzo Cilenti.

 Act#withSyria, 2015

Act#withSyria, 2015

Back to Nature: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

This is one of my favorite works by Vicki. Firstly, because of the location. The town of Inverness located on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia resonates with me in major way, as I view it as my second home, where I spent summers since the age of 5 and where we have a vacation house. Secondly because of my new found love for meditation and returning to untouched nature every time I visit Inverness.

'Lose your mind' and 'Come back' refer to the process in meditation when you are sitting still, breathing, and trying to focus your mind on just your breath. When your mind starts to wander and you notice it wandering, you slowly bring it back. In addition to this, these two phrases also refer back to this specific location, 'Lose your mind' is written at the beach near the entrance of the path through the woods. 'Come back' brings you back up through the ever changing woods and to the house. 

  Learning to Meditate , 2015

Learning to Meditate, 2015

Kompromat (Russian: компромат; "compromising material")

  Kompromat , 2017

Kompromat, 2017

Back in January of 2017, just two months into Trump's presidency, Buzzfeed published an article with a link to the full dossier, that makes allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives as well as claims of sexual acts performed in Moscow documented by the Russians. We would consider this blackmail in America, but in Russian politics, this is known as kompromat

Kompromat (Russian: компромат, short for компрометирующий материал, literally "compromising material") materials about a politician or public figure that have been gathered together and used in the media to generate negative publicity. Public relations officials publicize the material which is sourced from a myriad of security services (or sometimes forged). We may be new to the world of kompromat in America, but in Russia, this is a characteristic feature and is what helped make Putin president in 2000.

With all of this going on and whether the kompromat towards Trump is fake news or not, DaSilva thought it appropriate to brand the White House with the "Kompromat" light graffiti. The use of the color red also plays a significant role in this work because in Russia, red signifies something beautiful, good, or honorable. The Kremlin (house of the Russian President) in Russia sits adjacent to The Red Square, the most important square in Russia. In using red to write the word "kompromat", DaSilva plays with the importance that the color red holds in Russia, connecting it to a word that is quite literally the opposite of good, beautiful, or honorable. 

Tour Paris 13

Thinking back to Vicki's trip to Paris in October, 2013 and the work she made at Tour Paris 13, an iconic graffiti mecca in Paris that was set to be demolished. Her visit sparked a collaboration with light graffiti artist, Marko 93 and the two spent a night in the building writing with light in various rooms filled with graffiti. I always find collabs to pretty interesting as many times, the artists don't discuss any plan, they just get to the site and start making work off of feeling and vibes in the space. This doesn't mean that collabs always work and I think many times artists are reluctant to collaborate because of the spontaneity that needs to happen for a successful shoot. 

I find that this one night collab worked. Vicki's arabesque writing has a nice contrast to Marko's harsh quick lines. They both take over the entire space and play around with different perspectives and forms of writing, which ads a nice depth and you can really feel the raw space of the Tour Paris 13 building. 

  Collab with Marko 93 #1 , 2013 at Tour Paris 13

Collab with Marko 93 #1, 2013 at Tour Paris 13

  Collab with Marko 93 #2 , 2013 at Tour Paris 13

Collab with Marko 93 #2, 2013 at Tour Paris 13

  Collab with Marko 93 #3 , 2013 at Tour Paris 13

Collab with Marko 93 #3, 2013 at Tour Paris 13

  Collab with Marko 93 #4 , 2013 at Tour Paris 13

Collab with Marko 93 #4, 2013 at Tour Paris 13

  Collab with Marko 93 #5 , 2013 at Tour Paris 13

Collab with Marko 93 #5, 2013 at Tour Paris 13

  Collab with Marko 93 #6 , 2013 at Tour Paris 13

Collab with Marko 93 #6, 2013 at Tour Paris 13

  Collab with Marko 93 #7 , 2013 at Tour Paris 13

Collab with Marko 93 #7, 2013 at Tour Paris 13

In addition to this collab, Vicki went to Tour Paris 13 on the night before the demolition and made a few works outside of the building. These pieces made outside of the building were done while hundreds of people gathered outside & inside the building for its final hours. The building represented a space that welcomed graffiti and street artists, who are usually banned from outdoor public spaces and have to turn to illegal sites, making work wherever they get the chance. This welcoming allowed for artists to have free range and make work without fearing arrest. 

  Tour Paris 13 : FOY, 2013

Tour Paris 13: FOY, 2013

  Tour Paris 13: ce moment , 2013

Tour Paris 13: ce moment, 2013

  Tour Paris 13: FOY #2 , 2013

Tour Paris 13: FOY #2, 2013

  Tour Paris 13,  2013

Tour Paris 13, 2013

If This Art Could Vote

Artists reflect on America's pivotal 2016 election season in Huffington Post's If This Art Could Vote submission portal. DaSilva submitted a work from 2015, right when the nomination process for presidency was beginning. If Trump can be president, hell, Deez Nuts can be president! Shot at an abandoned Burger King (you don't see many of those) in Allentown, PA, DaSilva saw this as the perfect Americana location for this political piece. 

  Deez Nuts , 2015

Deez Nuts, 2015