Douglas Wheeler
Untitled (Light Encasement)
Adapted neon and plastic
96 x 96 in. (243.8 x 243.8 cm)
Courtesy of the artist

Wheeler's "Encasement" is made of plastic with neon lights embedded along its sides. Hung on the wall of a darkened room of precise proportions, its square form appears to float. Light suffuses the space, enveloping the viewer in a seductive environment of ethereal beauty. Initially critics focused on the painterly qualities of Wheeler's light works, but it soon became evident that each component of these installations, including the viewer and the context in which they are shown, contributes to their effect and meaning. Wheeler's Encasements have been likened to abstract expressionist paintings because of their transcendent qualities; in their ability to impact the viewer physically through light, they also share attributes with kinetic art.