Resplandor: aspectos de la luz en el arte estadounidense contemporáneo

Exposición colectiva

Exposición: Jul 25 – Oct 6, 2002

Once artistas contemporáneos, entre ellos Alicia Beach, Terri Friedman, Christian Garnett, Nancy Haynes, Craig Kauffman, Charles LaBelle, Alex Lopez, Kiki Seror, Jennifer Steinkamp, Alan Wayne y Yek brindan vías para el reexamen de la luz. La luz, necesaria para la visión, casi siempre ha sido un componente del arte visual, aunque ciertas épocas han enfatizado su importancia de manera más rotunda que otras.

El tenebrismo de Caravaggio y de la Tour, por ejemplo, representa el uso de la luz en la representación de la espiritualidad. Mientras que los luministas estadounidenses utilizaron la luz para transmitir la majestuosidad de la naturaleza, los impresionistas se valieron de la luz de una manera mucho más científica. Por el contrario, gran parte del arte conceptual basado en texto, en el que el contenido es más importante que la forma, considera que la luz es completamente innecesaria. Aunque la preeminencia del arte conceptual está menguando, los debates actuales sobre “teoría versus práctica” o “significado versus forma” recuerdan la división renacentista entre disegno (apelar a la mente) y colore (apelar a la vista y al cuerpo).

Trabajando en una variedad de medios, los artistas expuestos en Glow utilizan la luz real e ilusionista de formas decididamente visuales, examinando el nuevo uso y comprensión de la luz en nuestro tiempo. Si bien la luz en sí misma es inmaterial, la conciencia del espectador de sí mismo como un «ojo encarnado» está implicada en obras más recientes que involucran la luz. La ilusión, en desuso desde el minimalismo, es otra preocupación para muchos de los artistas de esta exposición. Las obras de la exposición se han elegido con el fin de hacer referencia a otros temas relevantes e incluir enfoques tanto abstractos como representativos.

Glow: Aspects of Light in Contemporary American Art está comisariada por Frances Colpitt, profesora asociada de Historia y Crítica del Arte en la Universidad de Texas en San Antonio y organizada por el Departamento de Arte e Historia del Arte de UTSA. Colpitt es editor correspondiente de Art in America y autor de Minimal Art: The Critical Perspective and Abstract Art in the Late Twentieth Century. Entre sus numerosos artículos, reseñas y ensayos de catálogos se encuentran muchos sobre pintura abstracta contemporánea. Una versión ampliada de Glow estará a la vista en UTSA del 5 de septiembre al 4 de octubre de 2002.


Alicia Beach

Alicia was born in Caracas, Venezuela and lived between the U.S. and Brazil, where her parents resided. She experienced an accident as a young child which left her with movement issues. She has spent the majority of her adult life coping with chronic pain from degenerative chronic osteoporosis in addition to PTSD. She has also experienced homelessness as a result.

Alicia hopes to be an advocate for people who are living with homelessness and disabilities, some of which may appear “hidden” to an outside observer. She writes: “Ironically, I live with a disability that is degenerative, and I always have to stay active to avoid pain setting in. I appear highly functional, and my appearances in no way reflect the realities of my everyday quality of life. I’ve had to ignore the pain a lot, but sometimes it catches up with me emotionally.”

Alicia Sterling Beach has always used art as a way toward enhanced meaning and beauty in her world. She uses materials such as watercolor, colored pencils, and soft pastels which offer her a wide-ranging color palette to bring forth the delicacy of light. Through drawing, abstraction and her symmetrical themes, she intends to create harmony and balance while releasing her creativity.

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Terri Friedman

San Francisco, California, USA

Terri Friedman’s weaving vibrates off the wall, a confrontation of colour, texture and size that shares a language with contemporary abstract painting. In fact, the artist often calls her work ‘yarn painting’, a description that, for her, connects paint and canvas to the material and process of traditional loom weaving. Friedman lives and works in San Francisco’s Bay Area, a part of California that, since the mid-twentieth century, has been a locus for cultural and political revolutions and that influence has been, profound.

Friedman, herself an art professor at California College of the Arts, took weaving instruction from her colleagues. Her beginner’s mind and hand is evident, for example, in the use of basic joining techniques, the retention of the mistakes others might repair, even the obvious delight in the wildly diverse assortment of available fibre materials wool, cotton and acrylic yarns, in manufactured neon colours or hand-dyed hues, and in gauges from fine to amusingly oversized.

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Christian Garnett

Christian Garnett was born in 1957 and was primarily influenced by the 1970s. The art sphere of the 1970s was characterized by a longing to grow and reinforce itself, as a reaction to the many conflicts of the previous decade. One of the most important movement of the 1970s was Conceptualism, which emerged as an offshoot of Minimalism, while the experimental, creative voyage of Process art emerged by combining essential elements of Conceptualism with further considerations on art itself. The initial ideas of environmentalism bounced from Land Art, which took art into earth itself, sculpting the land and bringing art to the outdoors. For the first time since the decline of Abstract Expressionism, Expressive figure painting slowly resurfaced and regained its status, particularly in Germany through the works of critically acclaimed figures Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer and Georg Baselitz. The city of New York persisted as the most prominent artistic hub of the decade, with global artists drifting through the downtown scene, visiting bars and art galleries, consolidating the idea of New York City as a cosmopolitan and sophisticated cultural capital. Artists such as Jannis Kounnelis, Mario Merz, and Michelangelo Pistoletto gained international success, as they were widely accepted as renowned members of the Italian movement Arte Povera, critically acclaimed in the 1970s.

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Nancy Haynes

New York, New York, USA

Nancy Haynes’ paintings, somewhat in the color-field tradition, demonstrate an ongoing concern with the potential of light. A contemplative emptiness exquisitely materializes in her paintings. She meticulously applies thin layers of oil paint and other mediums with broad bristle or foam brushes on very fine portrait-grade linen. The thinly loaded brushstrokes feather out to achieve subtle gradation of hues.

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Craig Kauffman

Los Angeles, California, USA

In recent years, a tremendous interest has developed in the Los Angeles artists of the 1960s who created new forms of art by working with innovative translucent and transparent materials. Shows at major museums, as well as at prominent London, New York and Los Angeles galleries, have captured the imaginations of critics and collectors. By all accounts, a pioneer in this line of aesthetic change was Craig Kauffman (1932-2010).

Throughout his career, Kauffman remained a painter, and his work reflected his many trips to Europe as much as it reflected the atmosphere of the West Coast. Kauffman was the first contemporary artist to use vacuum-form technology to mold plastic into wall-relief paintings. Described at the time as part of an “L.A. Look,” Kauffman’s work was seen by curators and critics as evidence of a promisingly sophisticated aesthetic that was unique in its interplay of light and shadow, innovative use of industrial materials, and integration of color with form. Although he is often associated with that movement, Kauffman’s work was always informed by a broad historical knowledge of European painting and Asian art.

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Charles LaBelle

Los Angeles, California, USA

Charles LaBelle’s art practice mines the multiple meanings of space and place. Over the last two decades, LaBelle has worked restlessly in a variety of media, including photography, video, drawing and sculpture as well as action-based and site-specific works. In Every Building Entered is ostensibly a quantitative accounting of the first time the artist passes over the threshold into a built structure. However, the photographic database exists elsewhere, while detailed drawings (or “reentries” in the artist’s conception) trace the body’s encounter of coming into contact with architecture. A similar bracing confrontation is rendered in the photographs that make up the Illuminated Trees series as these natural growths seems to quiver in the glare of LaBelle’s spotlight.

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Alex Lopez

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Alex Lopez earned his MFA degree in sculpture from Alfred University, NY (1998). He taught at Trinity University and The University of Texas, both located in San Antonio before coming to Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Lopez’s work is diverse, ranging from objects and videos to installations. His approach is that of scientist and anthropologist, observing, evaluating, experimenting and mapping spectacular moments and events. Alex’s explorations of social patterns during child development stages forces his audience to question the severity of compromise and conformity with an unsettling contradictory wholeness, as his work moves between factual and confabulatory narratives.

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Kiki Seror

Los Angeles, California, USA

Kiki Seror is an American-born artist who over the past few years created one new, site-specific piece commissioned by SITE Santa Fe. Seror’s work, which has recently begun to attract critical attention on an international level, incorporates aspects of contemporary technology, sexual politics, language, and feminist perspectives on history. The artist strives to address edgy topics with visual presentations and installations that are sleek and technologically polished. Seror’s work is notable for being driven by a feminist sensibility even as it dares to trespass into realms of inquiry that are typically represented through a male perspective.

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Jennifer Steinkamp

Los Angeles, California, USA

Jennifer Steinkamp (b. 1958, Denver, CO; lives and works in Los Angeles) uses 3-D computer animation and new media to create video installations that activate architectural space and alter phenomenological perception. She designs and digitally simulates movement of organic and abstract forms such as trees, flowers, and floating fabrics. Her works are displayed as site-specific projections that amplify their architectural setting by blurring the boundary between real and illusionistic space. These animated environments, while visually alluring, often carry subtle ominous references such as Daisy Bell, which features an array of beautiful yet poisonous flowers. Time plays a significant role in Steinkamp’s work, often depicting cyclical occurrences such as changing seasons and life cycles. These cycles do not typically have a beginning, middle, or end, but rather work with non-narrative concepts of change. In this sense, her work is more aligned with artists who prioritized sensorial experience, like James Turrell, Mary Corse, and other members of the Light and Space movement of the 1960s, than with film or other such time/media-based art.

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Alan Wayne

Los Angeles, California, USA
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Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

He calls himself the «Barry White of Post-Conceptual Painting.» The 31-year-old artist Yek, a Singapore native who now lives in Las Vegas, is tall and pale with an impertinent shock of black hair. Although his navy shirt and slacks may be paint-splattered and rumpled, his manners are impeccable and his paintings are immaculate.
The Barry White of Post-Conceptual Painting? The artist cringes slightly as if he rues his catchy remark. Then he says, «I like to make love paintings the way Barry White sings love songs. These are paintings you want in the bedroom where you make love.»

Yek’s sultry abstract paintings vary in size from two and a half feet square to five and a half feet square, and bow out from the wall like miniature cinerama screens. The larger paintings can take up to six months to complete — building the thick curved panels and adding multiple applications of airbrushed paint that is sanded to a luscious smoothness.

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