"Light and Space" was a minimalist art movement based in Los Angeles, California during the 1960s that emphasized "surface, synthetic materials, industrial processes, and perception." David Zwirner currently has on view a fantastic group show featuring rarely seen works by ten prominent artists of this movement. The brilliant works presented in Primary Atmospheres: Works from California 1960-1970 are composed of unconventional materials featuring "translucent, reflective, or ethereal surfaces," (from the show's press release). The pieces' "luminescent use of color and light characterize them as uniquely Southern Californian." The west coast artists "were reacting to local concerns with light and atmosphere, often evoking the qualities of the bright Los Angeles sunlight and the shiny, finished surfaces of the city's ubiquitous signs and automobiles."
Below I've summed up some of the artists' methods and techniques according to the show's press release, followed by pics of their works. As you'll see, these amazing pieces speak for themselves.
-De Wain Valentine, Helen Pashgian and Peter Alexander "experimented with casting polyester resin in different formats, creating works which explore the material's ability to both contain and reflect light." It's amazing to see how different each artist's results are - though they all share a definite sleekness.
Larry Bell made a series of glass and metal cubes that "explore the relationship between the sculptural object and its surrounding environment." He created a special "vacuum-coating technique to achieve semi-reflective exteriors" that bring viewers in by reflecting all that's around them.
Robert Irwin, James Turrell, and Doug Wheeler all started off as abstract painters. They "developed practices which employ light and indeterminate space to extend and disorient the visual experience." Their "environmental installations... explore the physical, sensory, and temporal aspects of the architectural space." These works are eerie, other-worldly, and ethereal.
Robert Irwin, Untitled, 1969 - No, your eyes aren't playing tricks. Irwin's piece is composed of "a white convex disc mounted on the wall and lit from four points, casting numerous shadows to effectually dematerialize the object."
Doug Wheeler, Untitled, 1969 - Wheeler's piece is part of a group of "light paintings" called Light Encasement series which he started in 1965. His light paintings "consist of large squares of plastic, with neon lights embedded along their inside edges that blur the distinction between the work of art and its surrounding context."
My pictures don't do these works justice. As minimal and simple as these works may seem, they make bold and elegant statements. This is an extraordinary show. Check it out if you can. Learn more at Davidzwirner.com. Through February 6th.