Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mary Corse: A survey in Light

Whitney Museum of American Art

Upon entering the exhibition Mary Corse: A Survey in Light, I was immediately mesmerized by a gigantic 240-inch long canvas. What first appeared to be a monochrome painting came to life once I started walking alongside it. 

The vibrating surface of the artwork, part of Corse’s “White Light” series, seems to be constantly in flux as the glass microspheres in the paint glisten as the viewer moves. The artist was inspired to create this glistening concoction of paint and glass particles by the reflecting paint used to mark highway lanes. It makes the painting’s surface shimmer and flicker.

The vertical bands that define the subtle rectangles seem to continuously shift. Strongly influenced by minimalist and monochromatic painting, the artist was interested in playing with light and perception very early in her career. The exhibition shows the variety of Corse’s artistic explorations, highlighting key works - such as her monochrome diamond-shaped canvases and her electric light box “paintings”– white Plexiglas boxes of fluorescent tubes that emit light from the surface.Walking through the exhibition becomes an almost meditative experience, as the paintings and sculptures adopt infinite permutations. Exiting the show through the last room, I was confronted by Corse’s “Black Earth” series. These two gigantic, shiny black ceramic tiles stand in strong contrast to the “White Light” paintings. Stacked on top of each other on the museum floor the two squares close the exhibition, which comes full circle by returning the viewer from earth back to light – into the hallway, where I find myself once more enchanted by the hypnotic force of Corse’s massive “White Light” painting.

1 comment:

  1. Your description of the show is wonderful and mesmerizing in itself. Your use of words allows me to imagine what photos likely cannot capture. While, I appreciate this and understand the way the exhibition made you feel I encourage you to go deeper into the work itself, perhaps doing more research. Additionally, this leads me to wonder more about the materiality used and the way she created these works of art. I would appreciate a greater exploration and description of the medium Corse used to create such dynamic pieces.