The apparent art explosion at the east end of the county is illuminated by two exhibitions concerned with light. “Ephemeral” deals with light literally, bringing together the radiant work of five artists (one from the Bay Area, two from here, two from Mexico City). Iñaki Bonillas’ fluorescent corridor slyly updates Bruce Nauman by stressing the optical rather than the corporeal, and physically leads to the other works: Thomas Glassford’s extravagant starburst of neon tubes, Elaine Buckholtz’s shimmering cascade of colors (derived from a van Gogh painting), Won Ju Lim’s miniature plastic bright-lights-big-city, and C.E.B. Reas’ lily-pond-like scattering of disks on which brittle, ever-changing patterns are projected. The show comes across as something of an avant-garde funhouse, and the works gain extra magic by playing off one another.
Similar interplay ensues between the wall works comprising “Liquid Light,” — paintings, by and large, with abstractions that seem to glow from within. Roland Reiss’ actually glow right through, consisting as they do of transparent acrylic applied to transparent acrylic. Even given the colorful nature of all the work, a quality of febrile near-invisibility pervades the show: In Dawn Arrowsmith’s orbs or Sharon Weiner’s blobs, for instance, or Andy Moses’ or Gregg Renfrow’s just-short-of-monochrome streaks, color is so luminous and expansive that the canvas seems to disappear into it. Also warming the eyeballs are Suzan Woodruff’s looming washes, Patrick Wilson’s and Alexander Couwenberg’s optisensual geometries, and the bounding brushstrokes of Michele Tabori and Jimi Gleason. “Ephemeral: Explorations in Light” at the Claremont Museum of Art, 536 W. First St., Claremont, Tues.-Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; thru Dec. 30. (909) 621-3200. “Liquid Light” at dba256, 256 S. Main St., Pomona; Tues.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-mid.; thru Dec. 1. (909) 623-7600.