Water and sky come together in new Fermilab art exhibit

“Water Sunrise” by Louise LeBourgeois is now on display in the Fermilab Art Gallery.

“Approaching Light,” an exhibit of oil paintings by Louise LeBourgeois, is now open in the Fermilab Art Gallery on the second floor of Wilson Hall.

An artist reception will be held on Wednesday, July 2, at 5 p.m. in the gallery.

LeBourgeois’ paintings depict spare scenes in which very little, if anything, interrupts what many consider mere background — water and sky.

LeBourgeois spent part of her early life in New Orleans and moved to Chicago when she was 14. She draws heavily on the natural scenes of those two areas in creating her landscapes, skyscapes and waterscapes. An avid open-water swimmer, LeBourgeois looks to Lake Michigan as her muse in her later works.

“When I swim in the lake, I am a small body in a vast space, immersed in rhythms I cannot control,” she said in an artist’s statement. Her paintings portray places she “could not quite touch or reach.”

Created between 2002 and 2014, the paintings portray the fields of Louisiana, where her ancestors laid down roots, and her surroundings in Chicago, where she now lives.

“Like swimming, painting invites us to enter a non-solid space, untethered to the usual rules of gravity, and painting can take us even further, to a place where time bends, where memory takes precedence over daily transactions, a mysterious space where words fall away,” she said.