(noun) nonchalant absurdity with a dash of embarrassment.

(verb) to be shark bitten.

(adverb) in a manner that is nonchalantly absurd and embarrassing.

13 October 2011

PHENOMENAL: CALIFORNIA LIGHT, SPACE, SURFACE @ The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

Images via JUXTAPOZ

[Text via MCASD]In the 1960s and ’70s, light became a primary medium for a loosely-affiliated group of artistsworking in Los Angeles. Whether by directing the flow of natural light, embedding artificiallight within objects or architecture, or by playing with light through the use of transparent,translucent or reflective materials, these artists each made the visitor’s experience of lightand other sensory phenomena under specific conditions the focus of their work. Key examplesof this approach include immersive environments by Bruce Nauman and Eric Orr, eachof which produce different and extreme retinal responses; the disorienting and otherworldlyglow of a Doug Wheeler light environment; a richly hued and spatially perplexing light piecefrom James Turrell’s Wedgework series, and the subtle sculpting of space with natural lightby Robert Irwin.

In addition to artworks which literally claim the entire space of the room, the exhibition alsofeatures a number of sculptures and paintings that function as prisms or mirrors to activatethe space surrounding them. The properties of glass are explored in Larry Bell’s coatedglass cubes and in monochromatic paintings by Mary Corse which are embedded with tinyglass microbeads. Elsewhere in the exhibition, the variously luminous and prismatic effectsof cast or vacuum-formed resins and plastics are demonstrated with exceptional works byPeter Alexander, Ron Cooper, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, Helen Pashgian and De WainValentine. Lush pigmentation and supreme reflectivity combine in John McCracken’s lacqueredsculptures to create bold objects which paradoxically melt into their environment bymirroring the details of the surrounding room.

Artists include Bruce Nauman, Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Ron Cooper, Mary Corse, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, John McCracken, Eric Orr, Helen Pashgian, James Turrell, De Wain Valentine, and Douglas Wheeler.

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