McClain Gallery is pleased to present Radiant Space, featuring works by Peter Alexander, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Larry Bell, Gisela Colón, Stephen Dean, Christian Eckart, Gary Lang, De Wain Valentine and Marc Vaux. These artists share an interest in materiality, perception, light and color in pursuit of an experience that transcends the purely visual. Radiant Space includes paintings and sculptures by several pioneers of the Light and Space movement as well as artists who share their interest in the use of light and color as medium.
Larry Bell, Peter Alexander, and De Wain Valentine along with a number of other very notable West Coast artists such as James Turrell, Robert Irwin and John McCracken, played important roles in the creation and popularization of the Light and Space movement which sprang up in the late 1960s in Los Angeles. Roberta Smith from the New York Times, states: “These artists’ lack of interest in making visual objects led them to start creating situations that gave the viewer a new awareness of visual perception.” Instead of applying paint to canvas, or sculpting in bronze, they focused on light as their medium: a material found in abundance in Los Angeles. Radiant Space features iconic Valentine “Discs,” Alexander “Bars,” and Bell “Cubes.” The innovations achieved by the Light and Space Movement were influential to artists who similarly focused on spatial phenomena.
The concept of a space where art manifests resulting in a contemplative, spiritual experience is present in Christian Eckart’s pieces as well. His Limbus Painting evokes traditional religious icon paintings. The title of the series, “Limbus” refers to the period between the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, a time the artist addresses as “a state of becoming.” Eckart sees the medium of painting “as an entryway or vehicle to the transcendent.” His recently completed Hobby Airport commission Cloud Room Field, fabricated from hundreds of panes of dichroic glass, utilizes both the environment’s natural luminance and the continuous motion of the airport’s security checkpoint to create a dynamic visual experience. Stephen Dean also employs the use of dichroic glass by combining fragments of the material with sheets of black aluminum foil and simple brown paper to highlight a shift of color and reflection that changes according to the viewer’s perspective. Gisela Colón’s “Glo-Pods” represent the work of the next generation of California Light and Space artists. The pods are produced using a technique called “blow-molding,” where she layers tinted acrylic sheets atop one another and then using hot air, molds them into the desired anamorphic shape. Her sculptures emanate diffused light and color.
Similarly, the Op Art movement explores the optical effects of color theory and perception. The work of Richard Anuszkiewicz is synonymous with the movement. Anuszkiewicz’s use of strict geometry is offset by his use of intense color, resulting in vibrating abstraction. Gary Lang’s work has been described by writer Erik Quint as “pure sensation,” and his large circle paintings mimic “time machines for exploring space and light without beginning or end.” For artists such as Eckart, Dean, and Marc Vaux, it is the straddling of 2D and 3D art that makes the work most distinct.
Peter Alexander (b. 1939, Los Angeles) lives and works in Santa Monica, CA. Alexander’s work was the subject of a retrospective at the Orange County Museum of Art in 1999 and has been included in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles and internationally in Japan, New Zealand, England and Italy. His work is in many collections including the Broad Foundation, Santa Monica; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Richard Anuszkiewicz (b. 1930) moved to New York in 1957 and by 1965 established himself as a leader in the Op Art movement. That year, his work was included in the important group exhibition The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art. His work is included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Brooklyn Museum of Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea and the Philadelphia Museum of Art as well as many others.
Larry Bell (b. 1939) lives and works between Los Angeles, CA and Taos, NM. He has exhibited widely, including group exhibitions at the Tate Britain, London (1970); Hayward Gallery, London (1971) and Museum of Contemporary, Art San Diego (2011). Solo exhibitions include the Pasadena Art Museum (1972); Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (formerly Fort Worth Art Museum) (1975 and 1977); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1986); Denver Art Museum (1995); Carré d’Art Musée d’art Contemporain de Nîmes, France (2011) and The Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX (2014).
Gisela Colón (b. 1966, Vancouver, Canada) was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and moved to Los Angeles after receiving her BA from the University of Puerto Rico. Her work is the subject of a solo exhibition, which began at the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown OH and will travel to International Museum of Art & Science, McAllen, TX; Castellani Art Museum, Niagara, NY; Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon, GA; Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, NM and San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo, TX. Colón’s work will also be included in two upcoming group exhibitions at the Chabot Museum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands and the Palmer Museum of Art, Penn State University, PA.
Stephen Dean (b.1968, France) lives and works in New York, and has exhibited extensively in the US and Europe including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2014); National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2012); Musee du Quai Branly, Paris (2011); Tinguely Museum, Basel (2010) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2007). Dean's work has also been exhibited in several Biennials: Moscow (2009), Site SantaFe (2006), Venice (2005), Istanbul (2003) and Whitney (2002). His work is in many collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Israel Museum, Tel Aviv; among others.
Christian Eckart (b. 1959) is originally from Western Canada and moved to New York in 1984. He received his MFA from Hunter College in 1986 and has been living and working in Houston since 2003. Eckart's work has been the subject of over 60 solo and 150 group exhibitions. His works are included in the permanent collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Eli Broad Foundation Collection, Santa Monica; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna, Austria; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Shauwerk Sindelfingen, among other notable institutions.
Gary Lang (b. 1950, Los Angeles) lives and works in Ojai, CA. He received an MFA from Yale University in 1975, and a Fulbright/Hayes Travel and Research Grant to live in Barcelona for two years. He settled in New York in the late 70s prior to moving back to California. Lang has had more than seventy solo exhibitions in the United States, Austria, France, Japan, The Netherlands, and Spain. His work has been collected by the Brooklyn Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Menil Collection, Houston and Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT.
De Wain Valentine (b. 1936) lives and works in Los Angeles. Important early solo exhibitions were held at Ace Gallery, Los Angeles (1968); Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich (1969); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1979); and PS1, New York (1981). More recently, Valentine was the subject of a solo exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (2011). Valentine’s work can be found in numerous collections including the Art Institute of Chicago; Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Muzeum Sztuki, Łódz, Poland; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Marc Vaux (b. 1932, Wiltshire, England) attended the Swindon School of Art, before completing his art studies at the Slade School of Art in 1960. He also taught for many years, becoming Head of Painting at Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design, London, before retiring from teaching in 1989 to concentrate on his own work. Marc Vaux has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad and his work is represented in many public collections including Tate, London; Arts Council of Great Britain; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; City Art Gallery, Leeds; York Art Gallery; and Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany.
Above image: Peter Alexander, Green Square, 2012, Urethane, 40 x 40 x 2 inches.