Theia: a phenomena of light


Medium: k9 crystal prisms, Serabond #92 polyester thread, and colored glass.

Theia is an art installation composed of over one thousand k9 crystals strung on metal fencing that surround the community garden at Martha’s Community Farm in Audobon, PA, formerly known as Saint Gabriel’s Hall. (Saint Gabriel’s Hall {SGH} was a long-term, multi-service residential treatment facility for adjudicated (delinquent and/or dependent) male youth from the Philadelphia area, which is now closed. The farm is located across the street from the St. Gabriel’s building.)

It is an immersive, magical experience of light, growth, and reflection composed entirely of k9 crystal prisms and colored glass gems.  As sunlight passes through the prisms, it is bent, or refracted, by the angles and plane faces of the prism and each wavelength of light is refracted by a slightly different amount. As a result, all of the colors in the white light of the sun separate into individual bands of colors producing rainbows all around. Sunlight supplies the complete range of wavelengths and can be broken up by a prism into bands of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. … Red light, when combined with blue light, encourages flowering. Plants look green to us because they reflect, rather than absorb, green light. Violet has the highest frequency and is refracted the most. Red has the lowest frequency and is refracted the least. Because each color is refracted differently, each bends at a different angle, resulting in a fanning out and separation of white light into the colors of the spectrum creating rainbows everywhere around the surrounding area. Rainbows are the result of the refraction and reflection of light. Both refraction and reflection are phenomena that involve a change in a wave’s direction.

Reflection is also used not only through the phenomena of light but in memorial to the past in dedication to the male youth residents who lived at St. Gabe’s and took care of the farmland and its animals. Martha’s Community Farm is newly named and is now a community garden that grows food to help feed people in the community as well as being given to various nonprofits and food pantries in the area.

The title name of THEIA is derived from the Titan goddess of sight (thea) and the shining ether of the bright, blue sky (aithre). Theia bore the Titan Hyperion three shining children–Helios the Sun, Eos the Dawn, and Selene the Moon. “Wide-Shining”.