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Los Angeles Festival : A Sculpture's Peaceful Light

September 26, 1987|JULIE TILSNER

Faced with the intense, almost religious presence of George Landry's sound and light sculpture, Baby Boomers who have grown up with too much TV are likely to see "Landlight, a Sounding Crystal Terrain" as a benevolent alien out of "Star Trek."

At Double Rocking G Gallery, where Landry has installed his environmental work, you walk down a corridor of light, with the spectrum of the rainbow at your feet and stop in a creamy blue orb projected at the entrance to a chamber.

Inside, a glowing semicircle of quartz crystal--3,000 pounds of it--waxes and wanes in colored lights. Michael Stearns' accompanying music, hypnotic and eerie, seems so natural as to go almost unnoticed. Twelve prisms throw psychedelic light upon the surrounding walls.

Looking like a Russian novelist, a bear of a man with a graying beard and worried eyes, the 45-year-old artist studies people's faces as they emerge from his work, and is pleased when they spout off their reactions: "Meditative!" "Soothing!" "Powerful!"

One woman had come in off the street--a rare thing at the out-of-the-way downtown gallery--visited his work and declared it one of the "most healing rooms" she'd ever been in. "This was good to hear," Landry said. "Because I'd been worried about the piece up until then. It's good to know that the healing aspect of it comes through."

His last installation, "Lyra, a Sound Constellation" used sound as a huge, walk-in instrument. People were invited into the piece to pluck the strings and make improvisational music. "My interests have been to create a world that people can enter and experience," he said.

Reactions to "Lyra" made the transition to "Landlight" easy. "Light simply became more important, though sound is still utilized," he said. Like "Lyra," however, "Landlight" is meant to be experienced, not merely viewed. The semicircle of crystals invites the viewer into the middle of the work.

"I was trying to get the sense of the egg in the womb," he said. "Like a rebirth into this new world of light."

The experience and reactions of people who investigate his works are at least as important to him as the piece itself, if not more, he said. And he has a wealth of stories to tell.

"Probably the funniest thing that's happened to me with this work was the time a woman went into the piece with her own crystal," he laughed. "She lost it in there, it dropped off her pendant, I think. But then she couldn't find it and came out insisting it was a different color than the rest of the crystals so it shouldn't be a problem to find."

He hasn't found it yet.

"Landlight" can be seen at the Double Rocking G Gallery, 652 Mateo St. through Oct. 11. Hours: Tues.-Sun.: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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