The American artist Ray Howlett (b. 1940 Lincoln, NE) is a pioneer of infinity light sculpture with a professional career spanning over half a century.
After graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1963 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, Howlett moved to Los Angeles to purse the arts, where he continued to paint in the abstract expressionist style. "As a painter, I was interested in the push and pull of space, but found I was limited in the two dimensions of the canvas. I knew that I wanted to make some big changes and get away from painting in a traditional art form, but I wanted to continue with the play of space and develop it into a completely original way. I decided to isolate myself from the art world of influences to become as original as possible."
Howlett then began to experiment with sculptural mediums and became inspired by the interaction of mixing reflective surfaces with electric light. The result was the development of a completely new, complex art form.
Howlett’s sculptures are characterized by their cascading colors, complex geometries, organic symmetries, and by the illusion they create of an expanding space inside the sculpture. This inside optical space looks to be larger than the external dimensions of the sculpture. The internal compositions and colours shift and change as the viewer moves, yielding an undeniably sublime sensation that is both mesmerizing and meditative. Howlett says, "In my art, and in meditation, there are common elements present: light, balance and harmony, participation, the essence of infinity, and uplifting feelings."
Howlett's sculptures possess a transcendental quality, drawing the viewer into an environment of paradoxical contrasts - stillness and motion, space where there is no space.
Over the decades he continues to develop this sophisticated technique that is now associated with the Howlett name.