Lair: Light and the Art of Stephen Hendee

Lair: Light and the Art of Stephen Hendee

May 28, 2022 through November 27, 2022

The New York Times art critic Roberta Smith once reviewed his work as being like a “collaboration between the creators of Spider Man, the set designers for 2001: A Space Odyssey, and maybe Star Trek, and the computer artists involved with Tron.” Now, the glowing, high-tech world of Stephen Hendee is coming to the High Desert Museum.

The new exhibit Lair: Light and the Art of Stephen Hendee opens at the Museum on Saturday, May 28. The exhibit opening takes place during the High Desert Museum’s 40th anniversary festivities: On Friday, May 27 at 6:30 pm, the Museum will open its doors for a Community Celebration offering the first glimpse of Lair, music, beverages from Central Oregon’s favorite brewers, food and more.

Hendee’s work is being created exclusively for the High Desert Museum for this exhibition. Using light, color and space, Lair explores the spaces in which we live both physically and virtually, drawing inspiration from the High Desert landscape. Walking into the gallery, visitors will be immersed in a futuristic world of light and sound with elements hinting at current environmental issues.

Wildfire and climate change are altering the reality of living in the High Desert and thus, Hendee says, play a pivotal role in Lair. In recent exhibitions at the Museum, large-scale photography and installation artwork have been used to explore the changing forest conditions, from nature’s resiliency to the threat of catastrophic wildfire. Stephen Hendee furthers that exploration through large-scale, ambitious installations. His translucent walls will glow with a warm, animated light that suggests flames. 

For 30 years, Hendee has immersed audiences in experiences that are both dynamic and emotional. Hendee serves as a professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, and his art has been on display everywhere from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York to Meow Wolf Las Vegas. Hendee’s recent awards include a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts ArtWorks Grant.

Lair: Light and the Art of Stephen Hendee will be on display through November 27. 

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“Coupled with expression, art can also be a unique and inspiring way to explore scientific topics. Stephen Hendee’s artwork will not only delight visitors with sight and sound, it will also prompt dialogue about humanity’s relationship with the landscape.”

Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D.