James Pelletier


     The artist/poet attended The Art Student's League of New York in the early 1970s where he studied with Robert Beverly Hale, Vaclav Vytlacil and Jose DeCreeft. While maintaining a studio at 8 Bethune Street in the West Village area of New York City, he made his living from a myriad of jobs including eight years as a periodic distributor for the SoHo Weekly News. He published his poetry in alternative press publications, exhibited his work at several galleries and created a Light Installation at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in 1976. During that year he created the first edition of Night/Light which took place on the evening of New York City's Bicentennial Fourth of July celebration. That edition earned Pelletier a commendation from President Gerald Ford. It also can be seen briefly in the 1976 remake of the movie, "King Kong." [Mr. Pelletier also has extensive training in the health-care field and has a B.A. in Psychobiology].

     In 1977, Pelletier created a citywide sculpture exhibition entitled Balloon Snow in Keene, New Hampshire. The wood constructions, which the artist describes as "optic illusion-light-time pieces," were inspired by balloon frame construction which was invented by George Washington Snow, who was born in Keene. In 1978, he repeated the exhibit in Battery Park in New York City. The exhibit was funded by Xerox Corporation.

     In 1979, the second edition of Night/Light was created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the electric light bulb and, as Pelletier told ARTnews Magazine, to celebrate the "magic and mystery of the urban night." The event received national and international attention. In an interview with Grace Glueck of The New York Times the artist said that Night/Light "is as much about peace and meditation as it is about spectacle." During the 1970s the artist designed sets and costumes for the Carol Conway Dance Company. Also in 1979, Pelletier, along with a group of dancers, musicians, theatrical technicians, and pyrotechnicians created a light performance entitled, Moondance. The New York Times called Moondance, "A fairy tale of the technological age with ingenious lighting effects." Moondance was performed at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio, the Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium for the 10th Anniversary of the Moon Landing, and at Bruce Park in Greenwich, Connecticut.

     In 1981 Pelletier launched his poetry publication, Matchbook Poems™ and started work on creating a light sculpture with the World Trade Centers called, Winter Light when he became disabled by a chronic illness which took several years to recover from. During this time he received a medical support grant from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation.

     In 1988, Pelletier created a Room Installation at the The Putney Arts Center in Putney, Vermont, inspired by A Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. He called the work, "an abstract spiritual interpretation of the elements that fuses technology and nature." In 1989, he created another Room Installation at the Center entitled, Maya which makes reference to the Hindu concept of illusion. From 1989 to 1992 the artist/poet spent time in residencies at art colonies: The MacDowell Colony, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Yaddo. While at The MacDowell Colony he invented a literary style of poetry inspired by haiku and the short stories of Félix Fénéon which were published in a chapbook. During his residencies he started several series of lightworks, including the Notan Series (notan means "light and shade" in Japanese), which he has continued to create since that time.


After Math

things that count
don't add up
while we are divided


Poetry is
a shadow talking
to the sun

Still Life

shadows on glass
music in mirrors
one reflects upon the colors of memory




Table of Contents | Starry Night | Night/Light Photo Fundraising Project | Night/Light Poems | Contact Us