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Artist Barry Underwood lighting up the woods at Horseshoe Lake to mark Shaker Heights centennial

Artist Barry Underwood, an assistant professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art, has entranced art viewers in Northeast Ohio for a half dozen years with his nocturnal photographs of light installations in forests or by the edges of lakes.

Now you can walk through a real Barry Underwood landscape, and use it to make your own photographs based on imagery he’s created.

Through Sunday night, a light installation by Underwood will be on view in Shaker Heights at the southeast edge of Horseshoe Lake Park, among trees  along South Park between Park Drive and Attleboro Road. The installation, which went on view Labor Day weekend, consists of a couple dozen large, suspended outdoor globe lights with LED bulbs that cast a glow in variable colors on the leafy surroundings.

The Cleveland non-profit organization, LAND Studio, organized the project for the Shaker centennial; anonymous private donors provided $5,000 to pay for it.

Last Friday, I visited the site with family members, and took along tripod and camera to see what Underwood’s installation would look like in photographs. I ran into Cleveland attorney Stanley Jaros and his wife, Susan Jaros, the former development director at the Cleveland Museum of Art, who now consults on fundraising for the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland.They agreed to stand still for several long-exposure images of them admiring Underwood’s lights, which then glowed violet in color.
I make no great claims for the results, but it was fun trying to figure out how to make an image based on Underwood’s creation.
Better yet was the sense of a party atmosphere in the woods, where visitors wandered in and out, often with their dogs, to check out the lights in the woods.

Greg Peckham of LAND Studio said the city’s Buildings Department nixed Underwood’s idea of stringing a floating tube of light along the shoreline of Horseshoe Lake. That’s too bad, but the lights in the woods are pretty terrific, and well worth a visit before they come down. Peckham recommends going at dusk, when there’s still a wisp of daylight in the trees. Others may prefer seeing Underwood’s lights after dark.

Whatever you do, you might want to grab a tripod and a camera and see what you can do with Underwood’s illuminating creation.

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