(American, b. 1958)
Particular Places A & C: Homage to Margaret Moser, 2018
Mixed media; 83 x 9 x 7 inches
Gift of Dr. Jim and Irma Brand to the Linda and William Reaves Collection of Texas Art at UHV, 2022
Ben Livingston—using a variety material, including UV sensitive phosphorescent compounds, minerals, argon gas, and glass tubes—creates light/neon art. He is the inventor of a special opalescent color palette for neon. With his art, Livingston hopes to “transform a space from banal to meditative.” According to the artist, “The end result I’m looking for is to condense an entire downtown nightscape, a shimmering cosmos, within the contents of a single electrified glass vessel.” Despite neon’s commercial character, having been used for sign making for over a century, Livingston creates art that contains radically distinct meaning from those usually associated with neon. He elevates the craft, focusing on the sculptural, decorative, and aesthetic elements of neon. Livingston takes neon away from the marketplace and into the world of art.
In creating Particular Places A & C: Homage to Margaret Moser, Livingston sought to capture the spirit of the Beeville community. According to Livingston, “I wanted to include all the residents of this community: Anglo, Hispanic and African American. I pulled from all kinds of obscure resources: Margaret Moser’s book Biography of a Particular Place, interviews about the fourth generation cowboy Juan Colunga, and descendants of the Lott Canada School, the first school for black children in Beeville.”
Born in Victoria in 1958, Livingston is a National Endowment of the Arts fellow. His first introduction to neon was a large 1950s Dutch Masters Cigar sign. “I was smitten by the linear quality of that glowing neon,” Livingston remembers. Residing in Austin, he has created and restored neon signs for his city’s landmarks like the Continental Club, Threadgills, and Amy’s Ice Cream. He has exhibited at the Beeville Museum of Art, the San Angelo Museum of Fine Art. Livingston’s art now resides in the collections of Texas Tech University, Bass Concert Hall, and Citizen’s Memorial Hospital.
University of Houston-Victoria