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 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.