Making light of things

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The Independent Culture
How many light-bulbs does it take to change an artist? Bill Culbert must have handled thousands of the glassy baubles over his career and listened to the tinkle of a million filaments, but after more than 30 years his enthusiasm for sculpture made out of light remains undimmed. Whether capturing a momentary shadow or sensuously snaking lights along the floor of a gallery, Culbert manipulates his elusive material into an almost tangible presence. For example, one of the installations in his latest exhibition at Salford's Viewpoint Photography Gallery features two 9ft containers lit by hidden thousand-watt bulbs. The vessels brim with a liquid light - a seemingly viscous substance that ebbs and flows from one to another, so that they alternate between looking like "an iceberg" and "a void". Another Culbert creation makes use of light settling unevenly over a dense field of 40 jars, charting the subtle changes of light that take place over a 24-hour period. In his accompanying photographs, Culbert preserves his ephemeral sculptures and proves that he has a similarly light touch with the camera.

LIESE SPENCER

'New Works with Light', Viewpoint Photography Gallery, Salford M5 4NL (0161-737 1040) to 18 Feb

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