Project Description

Exhibition Dates: March 18th to April 30th, 2016 

“Gathering Light: Part One” is a group exhibit that is loosely affiliated with the “Light and Space” Movement that gained predominance in the early 60’s and 70’s in Los Angeles. Though the exhibit will include Larry Bell (considered to be one the movement’s pioneers and originators), the exhibit’s focus includes a newer generation of artists working within this aesthetic. This movement is characterized generally by a Minimalistic emphasis on perceptual phenomena- i.e., abstracted, atmospheric shifts in color and light derived from nature. With the use of translucent or reflective materials, the viewer’s experience of light, space and volume is the ultimate focus of the work.

The consuming immediacy of this particular kind of work demands that the viewer experience the work directly. The unfamiliar points of reference, including light and shadow, shift attention from the object itself to the visual phenomena it produces. Reflectivity, translucency, and opacity contribute to the over all elusiveness, rendering a midpoint between the sculpted object and sculpted space. The focus changes from the concrete to the conditional, pushing the boundary between art and audience. Utilizing pigment and other material that interact with the viewer’s perception of light and color, each painting/object shifts and reveals itself as the viewer moves forward, and around, to investigate the work. Colors change, as do our perceptions of spatial depth. The mutability of the real and the perceived are played out by the flattening of space and vibrations of pattern that influences the viewer’s vision and perception of that vision. The essential meaning of these works is experienced through the act of seeing- not merely looking and analyzing, but truly seeing. This engaged interaction- painting as experience, unencumbered by narrative- becomes a 2D presentation of 3D space quickened by light and resonating with color.

Larry Bell’s “Small Figures” works are made of flexible polyester sheets that are vacuum coated with evaporative metals and quartz. Sheets of these materials have been coated with the metals in a thermal vacuum chamber. As the metals melt, they vaporize, and and meeting no resistance in the vacuum chamber, they then coat the surface while retaining the same crystalline structure. There is no pigment added other than the original color of the papers. It’s the crystals themselves that break up the light spectrum, providing the viewer with an interactive experience of transmitted and reflective light on surface. The twists and turns of the materials create layers of shapes and values that engage their surroundings—a feature integral to the aesthetic of the “Light and Space” movement. Bell is historically regarded as one of the originators of this prominent and ground-breaking practice which continues to define a California aesthetic. His work is exhibited and in the permanent collections of numerous national and international museums, galleries, foundations, and private collections including the Tate Modern, London, the Carre d’art, Nimes, the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, the Museum of Contemporary Art, LA, and many others. Bell lives and works in Venice, California and Taos, New Mexico.

Lisa Bartleson continues the legacy of Southern California painting’s rich abstract history utilizing a personal technique and process that further elucidate the key elements of the “Light and Space” aesthetic. Moving from her previous body of work that consisted of repetitive, meditative mark -making and luminous color strips, this new series of “Gradient” works are formulated with a very different process. Composed of bio-resin saturated with natural pigment and poured into forms, these new works consist of absorptive surfaces that the viewer “looks into rather than through”. Though evoking light, they serve more as vessels of illumination gathering in chaos and channeling back an object of transcendent tranquillity. The viewing of the work forces the recipient to be patient and attentive- a kind of meditative state of seeing things differently and more clearly. Bartleson currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, and her work is in many prominent public and private collections around the world including the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster, CA and Pio Monte della Misericordia in Naples, Italy. Bartleson recently completed an artist residency at Art 1307 in Naples, Italy.

Casper Brindle, a Los Angeles based artist, has re-interpreted the Light and Space movement prevalent to the area into his own amalgam of atmosphere meets car/surf culture. Brindle’s formative years were spent between the beaches and streets of the Westside of Los Angeles. This is clearly reflected in his use of color, material, and visual vocabulary. His use of high gloss, metal flaked car finishes and resin is highly considered and deliberate, driving the image to its minimal essence. The process of repeated layering of paint and resin places him firmly in the “finish fetish” movement, which continues to thrive in the coastal atmosphere of LA’s surf and car culture. Brindle was mentored by, and collaborated with, internationally acclaimed artist Eric Orr in the 80’s. In this exhibition, Brindle continues to create his singular take on color, light, process and highly articulated surface. Brindle has been exhibited widely in the US, and his bibliography includes (and not exclusive to), the NY Times, The Wall street Journal, and Art in America.

Mara de Luca, a Los Angeles based painter, approaches her process driven abstract work through a variety of influences that include graphic designer advertisements, literary sources and art historical investigations. Within this contextual framework, de Mara pours and overlays paint, fabric and other materials on raw unprimed canvas. The saturation of materials combines to create monochromatic surfaces that vibrate with atmospheric and radiant depth. Her customized framing devices exert a formalistic control, often extending off the pictorial plane adding sculptural and formal emphasis and nodding to the sometimes bleak, industrial landscapes of LA freeways and billboard advertisements. Her reaction to the sky and landscape of southern CA is fused with poetry, literature, glowing nighttime sunsets, and the vacant, eerie ethos of high fashion photography. De Luca has had exhibitions at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Edward Cella Art +Architecture, Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla, Otis in LA, and the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Gregg Renfrow, a Bay Area based artist, continues his preoccupation with light and color as the fertile field in which he deploys his materials and processes. Renfrow applies pigment dissolved in polymer medium to translucent sheets of cast acrylic. These hang unframed and slightly forward, allowing the passage of light through in both directions. The luminosity that ensues seems a kind of summoning of light through the medium of color- a conjuring of experience that we the viewer bring to the work as we physically experience it. Renfrow has often stated that the subject of his painting is the viewer themself- that the engaged interaction of the audience is embodied in the painting process and the painting materials. This experience of pure seeing is the only claim on one’s time and one’s senses. In the artist’s words, “the point of everything is the search for and discovery of light. Everything else is just commentary”. Renfrow has had numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally, and his work is included in numerous private and public collections, including The San Francisco Museum of modern Art, the Oakland Museum, and the Weisman Collection in Los Angeles.

Suzan Woodruff, a Los Angeles based artist, paints with a method of controlled chaos that creates works that depict natural occurrences, from the molecular to interstellar phenomena. While on an Indian residency many years ago, Woodruff began developing her signature style, what Hungarian mathematics professor professor Zoltan Subaida defined as “natural fractal pour paintings”. Using gravity, pigment, viscosity and evaporation, Woodruff re- creates nature and subliminal feminist iconography within her ethereal acrylic color explorations. The work draws from inspirations as diverse as the Hudson School to Abstract Expressionism, always influenced by the shifting color and atmosphere of the California sea and sky. Woodruff is a recipient of numerous awards and residencies, and her work is included in numerous private and public collections around the world. Woodruff has been reviewed and featured in Art Ltd, Budapest Sun, Artweek, Huffington Post, Money Magazine, LA Weekly, LA Times, Delhi Today, Times of India and many other print and new media sites.