Untitled (Beveled White Inner Band)
Mary Corse is one of the under-celebrated female artists involved in the Light and Space Movement (also known as California Minimalism). Light and Space artists, beginning in the 1960s, sought to explore the possibilities of light, space, and perception as the subject of and/or material used to form an artwork. Corse’s interest in the interaction between light and perception in her paintings inspired and was in turn influenced by her studies in quantum physics. Research in physics led her to investigate new materials and apply them to the canvas. One of these unique materials, glass microspheres—typically mixed with concrete for extra strength in construction or used medically for chemotherapy and radiation treatment—is mixed with the paint to create Untitled (Beveled White Inner Band).
The surface is segmented into five vertical bands; the outer sides are painted plain white, while the inside consists of three vertical bands of white and gray paint inset with glass microspheres. The contrast between the bands becomes obvious when the artwork is seen as a whole from afar. As viewers move closer and try to observe the artwork in detail, the boundary between the bands is lost. Another fascinating effect of the viewers’ movement is the appearance of rainbows, which appear on the canvas due to the glass microspheres reflecting the light. Untitled (Beveled White Inner Band) not only relies on impactful minimalistic composition and the sparkly surface created by using an industrial material, but also on viewer participation. The hidden pleasures and surprises of the artwork are only experienced by moving around it and looking at it from different vantage points.
Artist: Mary Corse
Title: Untitled (Beveled White Inner Band)
Medium: Glass microspheres in acrylic on canvas
Type: Light and Space
Dimension: 84 x 84 in. (213.36 x 213.36 cm)
Collection: The Buck Collection at the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art
Copyright: © Mary Corse