Lemley is known for large-scale, angular neon installations that transform spaces into meditative environments with light, color, and line. Each iteration is based on his passion for the scientific research connecting disparate parts of the universe through underlying geometry. His motivation is the scientific (and Utopian) idea that there is a unifying structure that joins all thought and matter, past and present. During a time of deep and raw divisions among people, it is comforting to remember that everything and everyone is connected.
According to some physicists, everything was symmetrical in the first few seconds the universe came into being. Then, due to rapid cooling or other, unknown phenomena, hairline fractures appeared, creating cracks in the fabric of the universe known as cosmic strings. For this exhibition, Lemley combines this concept with a chance encounter: charred tree roots he discovered on a walk near his West Virginia studio. The resulting installation transforms the gallery into a “forest” of hanging neon tube clusters and wood sculptures referencing the cracks in the universe and the galaxy-sized voids they created. The light from the neon bounces off the wood’s laminated, holographic surfaces, transforming the natural elements into an otherworldly environment. Viewers are allowed to contemplate what they know from personal, lived experience and what they can only attempt to grasp because it is beyond perception.