Glitter Gulch 2. 2013. Found objects, foam, bondo, resin, lace, tape, wood, casters, glitter, astroturf. 20”x20”x12”
Glitter Gluch 1. 2013. Found objects, paper mache, foam, bondo, yarn, resin, glitter, paint. 3.5’x1.5’x1.5’
The light setup, Lunds Konsthall, 2005-06
Studio Olafur Eliasson: An Encyclopedia. Cologne:
Your emotional future
PinchukArtCentre, Kiev, 2011
Untitled from Terminal Series
American, born 1939
Glass and chrome
12 1/8 x 12 1/8 x 12 1/4 inches
Larry Bell’s glass cube manifests the “less is more” aesthetic that drove much twentieth-century geometric abstraction. Reducing compositional elements to a minimum is, however, a risky artistic endeavor; viewers often find the work simplistic, without visual interest, and nothing more than a modernist joke. Artists, on the other hand, have conceived reductivism as a means to distill form to a purer essence, to focus on a medium’s constituent elements, and to produce a distraction-free work that can induce a contemplative, even spiritual, attitude. As Larry Bell’s Untitled, 1968, demonstrates, condensing form can also intensify perceptual experience.
Untitled sits on a thirty-eight-inch-high Plexiglas pedestal.(1) The height and transparency of this base, which allows light to enter the cube from below, contributes to a sense that Untitled is floating in space. At the same time, the pedestal is clearly a sculptural support and, as such, signals that it is elevating a work of art (rather than merely holding “a glass box”). The cube itself is an immaculate fabrication of smoke-colored glass framed by chrome strips. To achieve the subtle tinting, Bell employed a High Vacuum Optical Coating Machine, originally manufactured for the United States Air Force to coat the glass surfaces of fighter plane cockpits.(2) This vacuum chamber allowed the artist to chemically bind four extraordinarily thin layers of atomized mineral/metal compounds to the glass.(3) Bell aimed to achieve a gradient coating that would fade subtly from the edges toward the center of each glass pane.(4) This, and the accompanying shifting nuances of color and light that the artist intended, are less evident in Untitled than in other works in the Terminal Series. Instead, Untitled’s greater overall surface and formal consistency evince a wholeness, perfection, and preciousness that evoke the aura of a Platonic ideal.
Robert Irwin, Untitled
American, born 1928
53 5/8 inches diameter
Untitled dates from a crucial moment in Robert Irwin’s career when his perception of art, and of perception itself, were being reshaped. His concerns led him in 1966 to the convex disc format, which resulted in the body of work that gained him an international reputation. Irwin has explained that he adopted the circular shape because the traditionally rectilinear format of painting no longer made sense to him.
Formed of acrylic resin, Untitled is a convex disc that projects, by means of a clear plastic tube, twenty-four inches from the wall. Multiple coats of a white hue have been spray-painted onto the disc’s surface. As the opaque paint moves toward the edges, it thins to transparency. A three-inch band divides the circle in half, and four floodlights bathe the object in light. The disc, wall, light, and shadows merge to offer a shifting sense of palpability and indeterminacy, and a play between the real and the illusionistic. The method by which Irwin treated the surface of the disc, installed it, and lit it allowed him to produce a work that appeared to dissolve into its environment, in his words, “more or less transcending painting.” Untitled is less an art object and more a site/sight for experiencing the beauty, wonder, and complexity of visual perception.