Neon in an intimate space creates ‘Electric Caverns’ at Hot-Bed’s Micro Gallery

Using hand-bent neon sculptures, artist Alissa Eberle installs a warm, candy-colored electric cavern into a small gallery space at HOT•BED. Our contributor Corey Qureshi's review plays with the ideas of an intimate space treated with what are typically public and extroverted sign materials, and says the installation will put you in two different moods that feel loose and enjoyable. The show is up til Feb. 19, 2022.

Installation of neon glass sculptures, faux rocks, and a real plant on a silver fabric platform; the installation resembles an electric cavern.
Installation View of Electric Caverns (2021). Photo courtesy of the artist and gallery.

Neon signs represent enjoyable, extroverted (in that they’re collectively seen) things. Places advertising they’re open with food and drinks you might want, markers that’ll help you get where you’re going, entertaining conversation starters. Artist Alissa Eberle‘s Electric Caverns at HOT•BED’s MICRO•GALLERY uses several hand-bent, neon sculptures to explore potentially extroverted moments and introverted scenes.

In the first room, Eberle’s lights are set up gallery style, three of the walls lined with different neon sculptures. “Brick #1” and “Brick #2” suggest holes in the sheetrock wall, opening to its brick foundations on either side of the (suspended mid-room) nostalgic and hilarious “Future Past,” which borrows the Cool S older brothers and cousins doodled on everything in our childhoods. A two toned planchette and 80’s lasers further the nostalgia. “Grid” is a perspective-based moment that makes you want to look into the topmost corner of the room for a peek past the ceiling. Glowing colors make the gallery feel warm and fun, a place you could stand around with friends in for a while.

Neon sculpture of the "Cool S" (a popular stylized S) and a circle on a piece of metal; on either side are identical but mirrored neon sculptures of blue squiggly lines inside of which are red brick patterns.
Gallery shot of Electric Caverns. Photo by the author.

The cavern down the hallway has a much more meditative mood, replete with ambient, wet-sounding audio trickling through the room. There’re small wooden seats for you to take the room in, among prop stones covered in prop moss. The floor, covered in a sheet of shiny silvery material, seems to seep in place, trying to move away from long gleaming reflections of the neon stalactites and stalagmites’ bright colors.

Stalactites hang, installed from the ceiling and high up on the back wall in colors and shapes sometimes structured and patterned, sometimes suddenly changed and jagged. Suspended pieces make the installed scene feel vast, an alluring space with low-energy humming.

Similar to the brick pieces framing a central piece in the other room, two medium-tall stalagmites stand framing a potential cause for the silver liquid on the floor: “Neon Faucet.” It springs out orange from some stones in the back, invisibly pouring activity into the room. I initially saw this light as something that’d hatched, a different type of life beaming in the quiet cave.

Both rooms of Eberle’s work have aspects that make you consider your positioning and/or perspective in rooms full of light sources that call for you to see them. The cave sits you down and sets a mood. The front room plays with how one can look at the walls. While the installation room was chill, its jaggedness felt busier than the front gallery’s lighter-themed sculptures. The front room’s suspended pieces were also viewable from closer and different angles, giving a look at the wrapped neon tubes against their power sources/fixtures.

Electric Caverns will put you in two different moods that feel loose and enjoyable — introverted and extroverted, dripping quietly or loudly with ideas. If you can manage the two flights of stairs to the MICRO•GALLERY, these lit-up rooms are fun scenes to step into!

Alissa Eberle‘s “Electric Caverns” at HOT•BED’s MICRO•GALLERY is open for free viewing by appointment until February 19, 2022. The gallery is only accessible by two flights of stairs. Works from “Electric Caverns” are available for purchase here.