To qualify for the award, applicants needed 20 years of experience and had to submit images documenting their work over the course of their careers.
Lume has worked directly with light as a material for 24 years and indirectly for 30 years. A visual artist, his work highlights the interplay and intersections of light and matter, allowing the matter — or objects that we encounter daily — to speak in a sense.
“Like (Italian painter and printmaker) Giorgio Morandi, I noticed the objects I painted could speak. Their ‘thingliness’ and sense of light liberated something ineffable and true. Over time, I realized each thing had its own image — its shadow. I didn’t need to paint the thing; it had its own painting it carried around with it,” Lume said.
In 2008 he began to place objects on the floor and “had their image arise via light’s reflection or refraction. I continue to believe restraint and patience provide powerful guidance. Throughout all of this, my art has been shaped by poetry, beauty and a commitment to making ephemeral light installations.”
Lume, of St. Paul, is indirectly following a path forged in the 1960s by California artists like Robert Irwin and James Turrell, who worked with light.
However, he has branched off to consider “material culture and how light interacts with it. Quotidian material is always around us and we are mostly unconscious of it. Often, we just throw it away. I'm curious what it might say provided the right lighting conditions.”