MIKE LIGHT is an environmentally-focused artist. He is the founder and director of the Stellar Blue Fund, a marine conservation organization with an emphasis on international MPAs and high-seas governance.
A native of Long Island’s East End, Mike is delighted to carry on the spirit of his family’s seminal agricultural land preservation there in a more liquid and global incarnation, and honored to be Oceans 5’s newest member.
Mike has made a career in the visual arts by metaphorically and literally putting himself in extreme landscape spaces and then examining their meanings, often in in terms of American power and culture. He has exhibited globally, and his work has been collected by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Getty Research Institute, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The New York Public Library, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, among others.
For the last seventeen years, Mike has aerially photographed over settled and unsettled areas of American space, pursuing themes of mapping, vertigo, human impact on the land, and various aspects of geologic time and the sublime. A private pilot and Guggenheim Fellow, he is currently working on an extended survey of the arid Western states. Radius Books published the first of a multi-volume series of this work, Bingham Mine/Garfield Stack, in 2009. The second, LA Day/LA Night, was released in 2011. The third, Lake Las Vegas/Black Mountain, was published in 2015.
Light is also known for his archive-based works. His first, FULL MOON (1999), used lunar geological survey imagery made by the Apollo astronauts to show the moon both as a sublime desert and an embattled point of first human contact. 100 SUNS (2003), focused on the politics and landscape meanings of military photographs of U.S. atmospheric nuclear detonations from 1945 to 1962.
Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Amherst College and a Master of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. He has lived in the Bay Area since 1986.