White Light Painting (Inner Band Series)

White Light Painting (Inner Band Series)

“The art’s not really on the wall, it’s in your perception.”

–Mary Corse

Coming out of abstract expressionism, Mary Corse focuses on painting intuitively. Light is her main concern—not painting it to create dimension, but putting it in the painting. This ongoing interaction between light and canvas led Corse to create a series of white paintings between the 1960s and ‘70s. Though she was producing this work during the Light and Space movement, an outgrowth of Minimalism in California, Corse didn’t consider herself associated with her contemporaries. To capture light inside her Inner Band Series of paintings, Corse incorporates glass microspheres, a reflective additive used in street paint to make it visible at night. Looking from the side, there is no gradation of color in White Light, but from the front, the painting’s bands of color variation radiate from within the flat surface and the canvas takes on dimension.

Image: White Light Painting (Inner Band Series), 1997, Mary Corse, acrylic, silica, glass microspheres, 60 × 84 in., Gift of the Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2014.25.12.