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Aesthetic Radicalism in 'Awakenings’ at Singapore’s National Gallery Ocula Report Aesthetic Radicalism in 'Awakenings’ at Singapore’s National Gallery 21 Jun 2019 : Sam Gaskin for Ocula

Awakenings: Art in Society in Asia 1960s–1990s, a major retrospective at Singapore's National Gallery (14 June–15 September 2019), opens emphatically in flames. At the exhibition's entrance, viewers encounter a wall-sized image from 1964 titled Burning Canvases Floating on the River. The photograph captures a performance by Lee, in which he took...

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Thomas J Price: Reframing Classical Sculpture Ocula Conversation Thomas J Price: Reframing Classical Sculpture

When the London-born artist Thomas J Price graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Chelsea College of Arts in 2004, the school's college art prize was by no means his most notable accomplishment as an emerging artist. In 2001, Price presented his much-talked-about work Licked, a daring performance, later profiled on the BBC 4 television...

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'Sites Encountered': A Chorus of Five Artists at M+ Pavilion Ocula Report 'Sites Encountered': A Chorus of Five Artists at M+ Pavilion 21 Jun 2019 : Emily Verla Bovino for Ocula

Without punctuation, She Said Why Me, the title of May Fung's 1989 video presents itself as a statement, rather than a question. It suggests a subject who expects no response, a person prepared to make what she can from being chosen though perplexed by the attention. The video follows a blindfolded woman, then unmasked, through late colonial-era...

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Mary Corse

b. 1945, USA

At the heart of Mary Corse's practice lies an interest in the subjective experiences of light and colour. As an artist positioned on the periphery of the American Light and Space Movement, Mary Corse is known for her lightboxes and monochromatic paintings made with a unique mixture of acrylic paint and reflective glass beads.

Originating in Southern California in the 1960s, the Light and Space Movement referred to a group of loosely associated artists who shared a penchant for exploring perceptual phenomena and pioneering the then-unconventional use of plastic, glass, resin and neon fluorescent lights in art. Partially influenced by the brilliant California landscape and its bright sun, ocean and surf culture, artists such as James Turrell, Robert Irwin and John McCracken developed a visual aesthetic that focused on perfectly polished surfaces and minimalist abstract forms. As one of the few women artists associated with the movement, Corse's contribution was not recognised until recently. While sharing with her contemporaries an understanding of perception as a subjective experience, she developed a distinctive practice that differs substantially from others of the movement in her deliberate inclusion of evidence of the artist's hand.

Throughout her career, Corse has experimented with embedding luminescence in her paintings, with a particular focus on white light. Beginning in 1966, Corse worked on a series of lightboxes that consist of Plexiglas lit by fluorescent and, later, argon-filled tubes. For another series titled 'Electric Light' (1968), she studied quantum physics and wireless cording to create light paintings suspended from the ceiling. It was also during this year that Corse discovered the possibility of mixing acrylic paint with the microspheres—glass reflector beads used to mark road dividers on the highway—that would become a hallmark of her work.

Having focused on all-white paintings in the 1960s, Corse began to introduce black in the following decade. Black Light Painting (1975), for instance, depicts a composition of white and black quadrangles. By painting the black sections in acrylic paint mixed with minuscule acrylic squares and microspheres, Corse transformed the colour black—commonly thought of as the absence of light—into a luminous shade.

Corse's evolving experimentation with light is grounded in her belief in the range of possibilities available to a single colour depending on light and perspective. From one angle, her acrylic paintings may appear to have an uninterrupted surface of monochromatic grids; from another angle, however, the varied texture of the brushstrokes and microspheres become visible, altering the impression of the same work. This optical illusion was extended with Corse's use of the 'inner band'—a composition of alternating columns of white and shades of grey—from 1996 onwards, in which vertical stripes appear and disappear as the viewer changes position.

Corse graduated with a BFA from the Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts), Los Angeles, in 1963 and received her MFA from the same school in 1968. Her recent solo and group exhibitions in selected institutions include Lisson Gallery, London (2018); Seattle Art Museum (2015); University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor (2014); J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (2011); Gropius Bau, Berlin (2011); and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2011). In 2018 the Whitney Museum of American Art organised A Survey in Light, Corse's first solo museum survey. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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Untitled (Electric Light) by Mary Corse contemporary artwork
Mary CorseUntitled (Electric Light), 1968/2018 Argon, Plexiglas, high frequency generator, light tubes, monofilament
154.9 x 28.9 x 20.3 cm
Lisson Gallery
Untitled (Grey Light) by Mary Corse contemporary artwork
Mary CorseUntitled (Grey Light), 1988 Glass microspheres in acrylic on canvas
121.9 x 121.9 cm
Kayne Griffin Corcoran
Untitled by Mary Corse contemporary artwork
Mary CorseUntitled, 1998 Glass microspheres and acrylic on paper
40.6 x 45.7 cm
Lisson Gallery
Untitled (Black Earth) by Mary Corse contemporary artwork
Mary CorseUntitled (Black Earth), 1978 Fired earth clay tile
58.4 x 58.4 cm
Pace Gallery
Untitled (DNA Series) by Mary Corse contemporary artwork
Mary CorseUntitled (DNA Series), 2017 Acrylic squares and glass microspheres in acrylic on canvas
274.3 x 167.6 cm
Kayne Griffin Corcoran
Untitled (White, Black Band (Narrow), Beveled) by Mary Corse contemporary artwork
Mary CorseUntitled (White, Black Band (Narrow), Beveled), 2019 Glass microspheres in acrylic on canvas
243.8 x 182.9 cm
Pace Gallery
Untitled (White Inner Band, White Sides, Beveled) by Mary Corse contemporary artwork
Mary CorseUntitled (White Inner Band, White Sides, Beveled), 2019 Glass microspheres in acrylic on canvas
213.4 x 152.44 cm
Pace Gallery
Untitled (White Multiband, Beveled) by Mary Corse contemporary artwork
Mary CorseUntitled (White Multiband, Beveled), 2019 Glass microspheres in acrylic on canvas
198.1 x 304.8 cm
Pace Gallery

Current Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, At the Edge of Things: Baer, Corse, Martin at Pace Gallery, London
Open Now
7 June–14 August 2019 Group Exhibition At the Edge of Things: Baer, Corse, Martin Pace Gallery, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Painters Reply: Experimental Painting in the 1970s and now at Lisson Gallery, New York
Opening Soon
27 June–9 August 2019 Group Exhibition Painters Reply: Experimental Painting in the 1970s and now Lisson Gallery, 10th Avenue, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Painters Reply: Experimental Painting in the 1970s and now at Lisson Gallery, New York
Opening Soon
27 June–9 August 2019 Group Exhibition Painters Reply: Experimental Painting in the 1970s and now Lisson Gallery, West 24th Street, New York

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Art Basel in Hong Kong 2019: A Post-mortem Ocula Report Art Basel in Hong Kong 2019: A Post-mortem 6 Apr 2019 : Diana d’Arenberg for Ocula

Although Art Basel in Hong Kong is the youngest of the Art Basel fairs, and a relative newcomer to the international art fair circuit, it has now become a major attraction for collectors and galleries from around the world. The seventh edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong saw thousands of art courtesans and benefactors kick off the week with a string...

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Art Basel in Hong Kong: Exhibitions to See Ocula Report Art Basel in Hong Kong: Exhibitions to See 23 Mar 2019 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

For those visiting during Art Basel in Hong Kong (29–31 March 2019), the smell of fresh paint may still be in the air at the latest heritage conservation project, The Mills, which opened on 16 March to encompass the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textiles (CHAT), joining the ranks with ex-prison complex Tai Kwun, along with Eaton HK—a retro...

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New York Autumn Exhibitions: The Lowdown Ocula Report New York Autumn Exhibitions: The Lowdown 14 Sep 2018 : Jareh Das for Ocula

The autumn exhibition season has officially kicked off in New York, with countless solo and group exhibitions featuring emerging, mid-career, and established artists, with some exhibiting works in the US for the first time. With a host of exhibitions to choose from, including a series of stellar museum exhibitions whose runs are nearing completion,...

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In Related Press

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MARY CORSE: A Survey in Light Related Press MARY CORSE: A Survey in Light The Brooklyn Rail : 11 July 2018

At the entrance to Mary Corse: A Survey in Light at the Whitney Museum of American Art, a monitor plays White Light (1968), a film showing a young Mary Corse at work in her studio. In one scene, Corse holds a square of fluorescent tubing, moving it playfully in front of the camera. The square begins to glow, seemingly from within, without any...

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The Californian Artist Posing Questions of Light and Space Related Press The Californian Artist Posing Questions of Light and Space AnOther Magazine : 6 June 2018

With a recent gallery installation at Dia:Beacon and an upcoming solo show at the Whitney in New York, Mary Corse is having a significant, well-earned moment of recognition. Working as a dedicated artist since the 1960s, she is one of few women connected to California’s west coast Light and Space movement. Directionally, though, her artistic focus...

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Quantum leap for Mary Corse as clutch of shows brings overdue recognition Related Press Quantum leap for Mary Corse as clutch of shows brings overdue recognition The Art Newspaper : 4 May 2018

At the age of 72, Mary Corse will have her first solo museum exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art next month. A group of her pioneering abstract paintings has also recently been acquired by the Dia Art Foundation. Now recognised as sharing affinities with works by artists in the California Light and Space movement, including James...

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Spotlight On Mary Corse Related Press Spotlight On Mary Corse Architectural Digest : 25 January 2018

Nestled in a canyon on the outskirts of Los Angeles, artist Mary Corse’s house and studio are a short drive—but a world away—from the city’s hustle and bustle. Cell service cuts out en route to her home, which is reached via a single-lane bridge and winding dirt road. Neighbors are few and far between, affording Corse ample room to paint in...

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In Related Video

Mary Corse in Conversation with Carolina A. Miranda Related Video & Audio Mary Corse in Conversation with Carolina A. Miranda Kayne Griffin Corcoran : 6 June 2018

Artist Mary Corse in conversation with Los Angeles Times culture writer and winner of the 2017 Rabkin Prize in Visual Arts Journalism Carolina A. Miranda at Kayne Griffin Corcoran discussing Corse's practice, why she often produces her own art materials and tools, and her friendship with James Turrell.

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