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Photo: Flying Studio / Mary Corse, Kayne Griffin Corcoran
Mary Corse transformed the exterior of her studio into “Untitled (White Light Bands).” The art takes on an otherworldly glow at dusk.

Here is a story about art works that you have to see in person because the light shifts when you move.

Carolina A. Miranda reports at the Los Angeles Times,”If you stand outside of Mary Corse’s studio in Topanga Canyon at just the right hour, you might get to see one of her works come to life. The painter, who is known for playing with the properties of light, last year transformed the exterior of her studio into one of her largest pieces to date. Along the building’s exterior face, she painted a sequence of four simple columns employing one of the materials for which she is best known: white paint mixed with glass microbeads. The material is what gives street signs and lane markings their illuminative properties.

“ ‘They don’t reflect light, they prism,’ Corse says. ‘It makes a triangle between the surface, the viewer and light. So if the viewer moves, then it changes.’

“In broad daylight, the columns on Corse’s studio are barely perceptible. But at dusk, when the light dims, it is a different story. The moment the wall is hit by any stray beam of light, the columns take on an otherworldly glow.

The effect is that of a portal opening into a parallel universe. …

“Since the 1960s, the Los Angeles artist has produced a body of work that toys with light and the emotional states it can induce — using reflective and refractive materials to create pieces that can shift and change in surprising ways as you move before them. …

“As an artist, she has remained somewhat under the radar — known to a circle of art world insiders; less so to the general public.

“That is changing. [Corse had a November show at] Kayne Griffin Corcoran in Los Angeles, with works from various stages in her career — including an immersive environment she first conceived in the 1960s titled ‘The Cold Room,’ a free-standing structure kept at near-freezing temperatures, in which floats a spectral light box. …

“In May, Dia:Beacon, the temple to minimalism in New York’s Hudson Valley, will present a long-term installation of four recently acquired works covering the span of her career. And the following month, the Whitney Museum of American Art will open the doors on Corse’s first solo museum survey.

“ ‘It will be focusing on her critical moments,’ says the exhibition’s curator, Kim Conaty, ‘starting with her early experiments with shaped canvases, when she was beginning to think about how to find light within painting. …

” ‘She has not only used materials in innovative ways to literally capture light,’ Conaty says, “but to also capture the metaphysical qualities of light. And she has done a lot of it through painting.’ …

“Conaty says the work requires some commitment from the viewer.

“ ‘You pass it, you do the double take, you come back, you move along the side of it,’ she says. ‘You can’t just walk through.’ ”

Conaty is a close friend of Suzanne, so if you are in New York City in June, please go see the Mary Corse show she’s curating.

More on Corse at the Los Angeles Times, here.

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