wt stinson                   light art











wt stinson


Horse Cave (1959 – 1978)

WT Stinson was born in Elizabethtown, Kentucky and raised in Horse Cave, Kentucky. Horse Cave is noted as the hometown of Joe Downing (the artist), Dero Downing (First President of Western Kentucky University), boyhood home of Jack Robert Thompson (father of Hunter S. Thompson), hometown of Clarence Wilson and Carl Helem (two of the original Harlem Globetrotters), and Bill Austin. Bill was an engineer who designed the first habitats to be used in Antarctica, and whose photographs were published in National Geographic, and who was also a world renowned spelunker who was instrumental in the discovery of the connection between the Mammoth Cave and Flintridge Cave systems which form the longest cave system in the world.  Stinson notes, “As one can see, Horse Cave is an anomaly. Few towns with a population just over 2,000 have had so many notable residents.”


Western Kentucky University (1978 – 1983)

Studied Art Education at Western Kentucky University and was a Track and Cross Country athlete


Florida State University MFA (1985 – 1988)

Here, Stinson met Richard Hamilton, a fellow MFA student, who became one of his closest friends and mentors. Stinson recalls, "Richard was a little older than the rest of the grad students and had two degrees including a BFA from the Parson’s School of Design. We both lived in vans to save money for art materials and increase the time spent in our studios. Richard was an important influence regarding the way I thought about art."  Another strong influence on Stinson was his Major Professor, British artist, Trevor Bell. Stinson notes, "Some professors' strengths lie in the 'nuts and bolts' of art-making; however, Bell focused his critiques on the 'conceptual side' of creating art and purposely guided his students to think outside the box."

During this time, Stinson began studying Gothic cathedrals and became interested in the functional and aesthetic properties of their stained glass windows. He was particularly struck by the illusionary phenomenon these windows produce: sometimes the windows appear to be part of the interior wall; at other times they become silhouetted shapes that seem to hover in space. The strength of this phenomenon varies according to the position and intensity of the sun.

It was after analyzing these windows that he began to install fluorescent lights inside wooden frames, creating Light Modulators (his name for his early light sculptures). The Light Modulators are a compilation of several elements, some of which were developed by the evolution of the work itself and others that were inspired by Gothic stained glass windows. The artworks were once described by Art historian, Francois Bucher,  as "stained glass without the glass."



Finalist, State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship (1989)

James Turrell (1989)

While living in Tallahassee, Stinson was recruited by the Florida State University to assist with an installation of artworks by renowned light artist James Turrell. Stinson recalls, “It was a pleasure working with Mr. Turrell. I assisted with the construction of his site-specific installations and designed and built the projector for his ‘dark piece.’ We shared quality time working together and discussed the difficulties of meeting exhibition deadlines regardless of how much time you have to install the artwork.”


Finalist, Southern Arts Federation (NEA) Fellowship (1990)



Jacksonville Art Museum (1991)

While still living in Florida, Stinson’s artwork was selected as part of the Photons-Phonons-Electrons exhibit. This exhibit offered an overview of kinetic artwork produced during the last 70 years. The exhibit included works by earlier artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Jean Tingluey; in addition, several contemporary artists were represented such as Alice Aycock, Steve Berry, and Eric Orr. Stinson was the youngest artist to exhibit and the only Floridian.


Recipient, Kentucky Arts Council Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship (1997)



selected solo exhibitions and installations:

2013                amalgam: Elizabethtown Community College, Elizabethtown, KY

2013                 the open forms: Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, Bowling Green, KY


2002                   light, time, place: (Site-specific Installation & new work), 208 East Fourth Street,      

                         Russellville, KY  

2001                twin: (Installation), Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY 


1997                       light/dark: (Installation), Western Kentucky University 


1995                       gothic lights: Eclectic Electric Gallery, Atlanta, GA 


1994                      mozart’s lux aeterna: (Window Installation), The Capitol Arts Center, Bowling Green, KY 


1993                      w.t. stinson: The Omega Gallery, Carson- Newman College, Jefferson City, TN 


1989                       light pillars: (Site-specific Installation), The Window on Gaines Street, Tallahassee, FL  

selected group exhibitions:

2003               kentucky visions: Governor’s Manson, Frankfort, KY   

1998                      points of the compass: Museum of Fine Arts, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
                           (Curator: Allys Palidino-Craig)

1997                western kentucky  university faculty exhibition: University Art Gallery, Bowling Green, KY  

1993                      showcase 93: The Water Tower Galleries, Louisville, KY   

1993                       unnatural light: The Galleria, St. Petersburg, FL 

1992                   between boundaries: The Florida Craftsman Gallery, St. Petersburg, FL  
Claudia Sabin)

1992                color of light: The Brevard  Art Center & Museum, Melbourne, FL  
Dr. Amy Vigilante)   

1991                 the art of light: The Neon Company, Atlanta, GA
                          (Curator: Kimberly Smith)

1991                photons-phonons-electrons: Jacksonville Art Museum, Jacksonville, FL    
                      (Curator:  Bruce Dempsey) 

1991                light’n up: The Torpedo Factory, Alexandria, VA 

1991                 meter-measure-modulation: The capitol Gallery, Tallahassee, FL 



public collections:

1991          Light Modulator # 29, Florida State University, Tallahassee Florida (purchased                     with funds provided by Florida's Art in Public Places program)


1997         Al Smith Fellowship for Sculpture (Awarded by the State of Kentucky's Division                      of Cultural Affairs)

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