Mary Corse: Light and Space Artist
One of the few women recognized as a Light and Space artist in the 1960s, Mary Corse developed a signature vocabulary for the exploration of perception and experience within her works. Fascinated by color theory from a young age, the artist sought to manipulate and improve on the medium-specific tactics of the preceding generation of modernist painters. While other artists associated with the Light and Space movement prioritized the observable exchanges between their works and the environments in which they were situated, Corse focuses on the interaction between the work and the viewer’s movement through space, with works that remained on the gallery wall. The patterns of Corse’s practice can be measured by distinctive shifts in her materials and methodology, but none are as emblematic of her artistic convictions as the integration of glass microspheres within her pigment.
Beginning in 1968, these prism-like beads allowed Corse to fully draw the viewer into the energy of her work. The material has remained integral to the artist’s practice as her ideas on the roles of both the artist and the viewer have evolved. Lot 187, Untitled (White Light Band) (1993), showcases the refractive nature of her microbead-laced paint, and the tonal separation of the painting’s inner band offers an access point to the viewer, a doorway that proposes depth and simulates motion over time. As demonstrated by Untitled (White Light Band), Corse’s interest in the inherent qualities and effects of her materials has produced a rich experimental process. After over 50 years of contributing to the advancement of the painting medium, Corse is now being featured in her first solo museum survey, “Mary Corse: A Survey in Light,” which traveled from the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and is currently being shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
“Mary Corse: A Survey in Light.” LACMA, 2019, www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/mary-corse.
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