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Between Dark & Light book launch

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Event description

Help us celebrate the release of UTS ePress' latest publication Between Dark & Light: the light art of Ruth McDermott and Ben Baxter.

Join us for an evening of inspiring talks, networking and drinks with innovators of urban light art and authors of the new release, Ruth McDermott and Ben Baxter.

A must-attend for anyone interested in the history and application of LED light technology in art and design, or those wanting a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to create and install award-winning artworks at Vivid Sydney. 

Please RSVP by Friday 26 August, 2022.

Event details

5:30pm Enjoy complimentary nibbles and drinks on arrival

6:00pm Artist talks with Ruth McDermott, Ben Baxter and Anthony Bastic (Curator, Vivid Sydney 2009 - 2018). Hosted by UTS Librarian Michael Gonzalez

6:40pm Meet with the artists 

Between Dark & Light book cover

Between Dark & Light Blurb

Over the past two decades, a quiet revolution has taken place in the world of light art and design with the introduction of LED technology. Sydney-based artists Ruth McDermott and Ben Baxter have been on the vanguard of this movement, creating innovative and award-winning installation artworks utilising the capabilities of this new technology. A frequent highlight of the Vivid Sydney light art festival, their work has become known for creating site-specific narratives exploring the landscapes and histories of Sydney and its surrounds. This book surveys twelve years of their practice (2009-2021), as their work evolved in tandem with the technology, with a special focus on the technical aspects of creating, mounting, and displaying large-scale installations.

Along with an essay on the history of light art, commentary from collaborators, and over 100 photographs documenting the conceptual life span of eighteen artworks, this book features the authors reflections on the unique relationship of artistic collaboration, and how this relationship has enhanced their practice and journey as artists. 

About the authors

Ruth McDermott is an academic, designer and light artists who, before becoming involved with the world of light, worked in industrial design studios designing mass-manufactured products. Ruth created lighting works for exhibitions and clients before starting a joint practice with Ben Baxter in 2009. Ruth attained her PhD in Design at UTS in 2017.

Ben Baxter is a lighting designer, design teacher and light artist whose background training includes a Fine Arts degree in painting and sculpture. Alongside the creative practice with Ruth McDermott, Ben has worked in the lighting industry in both the private and public sectors and has a special interest in illumination for public spaces.

Artist Testimonials

“Ruth and Ben’s body of work is impressive due to the strong narrative that they develop and weave through their works. Their ability to problem solve when faced with the many challenges of presenting a light art installation in a public space is to be commended, as is their ability to design a light artwork that resonates with an audience.” 

Anthony Bastic, curator, Vivid Sydney 2009–2018   

“I have been inspired by their commitment to making beautiful professional and sustainable light-art sculptures that explore in original ways the interaction between materials and natural, artificial and found light sources. Their work is a joyful celebration of their love of the wonders of the natural world and I hope they continue to delight us in the years ahead.” 

Michael Day, architect and lighting designer   

“Ruth McDermott and Ben Baxter are two exceptional talents from Australia’s first wave of urban light artists who have thrilled harbourside spectators at Sydney’s Vivid festivals since 2009. Among an elite international coterie of media architecture innovators, they continue to dramatise wharves, lanes, parks, foyers and other dark city sites with their technically sophisticated, nature-inspired and optically arousing illuminations.” 

Dr Davina Jackson, author (SuperLux) and founding strategy director, Vivid Sydney light festival 2009 

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