Mary Corse’s First Museum Survey Comes to LACMA

This weekend, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), opens Mary Corse: A Survey in Light, the Chouinard alum’s first solo museum survey. The exhibition, which runs from July 28 to Nov. 11, brings together Corse’s key bodies of work, including 20 paintings, two sculptures and light encasements that she engineered in the 1960s.

Corse (Chouinard 68), emerged as one of the few women associated with the West Coast Light and Space movement. The movement examined how light and geometric shapes can shape both perception and experience. Corse explored those themes through painting, experimenting with elements from the monochrome to the grid, as well as materials such as plexiglass, metallic flakes and clay. The artist completed courses in quantum physics from the University of Southern California in order to be certified to handle Tesla coils needed for her work with plexiglass.

Also featured in the show are her White Light Paintings, begun in 1968, and the Black Earth series that she initiated after moving in 1970 from Downtown Los Angeles to Topanga Canyon, where she lives and works today.

Corse’s paintings and sculptures touch on ideas of temporality, transformation and the subjective nature of perception. If there’s nothing truly static in reality, then why should art be made to be? Her work references the specificity of looking, the viewer’s experience becomes deeply individual and introspective.

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