Amorepacific Museum of Art presents “Mary Corse: Painting with light”

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Over the past six decades, Corsica’s work has continuously studied perception, the properties of light, and ideas of abstraction. Composed of 34 monumental works selected from the vast career of Corsica, this exhibition highlights his ambitious and complex investigations in painting, explores the manifestation of light and his phenomenological experiences, and forges for Corsica a unique place in the history of France. 20th century abstraction and art. The works presented have been drawn from various series, including the artist’s seminal White light paintings, started in 1968, examples of her Black Light paintings from the 1970s, works by his Black Earth series, Camber and Inner band paintings, as well as sculptural pieces, including its argon light boxes, and a freestanding monument Shine.

“I would like to thank Amorepacific Museum of Art for my first museum exhibition in Korea. I am very honored to have the privilege and hope that we experience a similar spirit in our common humanity from so far away,” said Corsica. The exhibition reveals a deep understanding of the artist’s practice and a permanent dialogue with the perceptual consciousness. The works embody rather than simply represent light, inviting viewers to experience them in innovative ways. Collectively, they open up to their surroundings and create an experiential encounter for viewers, based on vision and movement. APMA sincerely hopes that this exhibition will provide new opportunities to broaden and transcend its perspective on light. For the safety of visitors, a pre-reservation made through the official APMA website (https://apma.amorepacific.com) is mandatory for all participants.

* Showroom 1 starts with Marie Corsica seminal White light series of paintings. In 1968, she developed a radical painting technique that combined glass microspheres layered over acrylic paint. The industrial material is used to optimize the visibility of road markings on highways, which she first noticed while driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Scattering these tiny particles of glass in a thin layer on its surfaces, Corsica developed an aesthetic that exploited the refractive index of light. When light interacts with Corsican paintings, it oscillates and responds to our position and movement as viewers. The luminance of his work exhibits physical brushstrokes that emerge and fade and a surface tactility that sparkles and shines but then flattens endlessly. Two other bodies of work – the Inner band series and Untitled (beams) (2020) – continue in the tradition of White light paintings.

* Showroom 2 presents the Color painting series and Camber paintings. In the late 1990s, Corsica began producing works incorporating primary colors – red, yellow, and blue – after focusing only on black or white monochrome paintings. By layering the hues with glass microspheres, the artist discovered that she could avoid “just painting a color image” and instead “make color be light”. Interested in the fact that all colors are present in white light, with these paints she attempted to “go deeper into white light”, revealing pure, saturated color. As products of white light, primary colors, along with the use of glass microspheres, broaden its long-standing consideration to the properties of light and human perception. In her Camber paintings, Corsica evolved into a more structured form reminiscent of the architectural post and lintel. Beginning with a single arch in black or white, these paintings contain a shortened strip to allow the outer edges to meet at the top. This motif, often appearing as doors or acting as portals, brings Corsica’s work closer than ever to a representative image, and thus relates more explicitly to the human body and the space it inhabits. These works play with physical, phenomenal and representational space, creating a push-and-pull effect that seems to draw the viewer’s gaze in and out of the canvas surface.

A monochrome canvas painting made during his stay at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles (1964-68) is exhibited in * Exhibition Hall 3. At Chouinard, Corsica began to experiment with the physical structure of the canvas, as the modification of its shape allowed her to go beyond the traditional rectangular format that she had explored in her abstractions. Taking the form of octagons, hexagons and diamonds, his shaped canvases consisted of large monochrome fields with white borders. The Octagonal blue (1964) shows the introduction of fragments of the microelement, mica, in an attempt to capture light in his paintings.

* Exhibition hall 4 shows Untitled (electric lighting) (2021), from her Light paints. When she originally produced these works in the late 1960s, light boxes represented Corsica’s most concerted quest, in her words, “for an objective truth.” Lightboxes achieve this ultimate goal by using light as the medium itself and have compelled her to look for a way to “put light in the painting”. Her physics studies, which helped her produce her works, taught her that such activities were in vain. This revelation that the human experience is inherently subjective freed her to reintroduce subjectivity into her work by returning to painting and reintroducing the brushstroke. Corsica’s experience with light boxes also engaged her in finding a way to make her paintings generate light, and not just represent or allude to it.

* Showroom 5 transitions to her Black light series. Corsica’s pursuit of light was not limited only to its emitted and reflected properties. In the early 1970s, she introduced black paint mixed with acrylic squares into her practice. Extending its exploration of materials, the Black light the paints adopted both acrylic squares and glass microspheres to reflect and refract light in addition to its absorption by the dark pigment, resulting in a shimmering black surface. The cosmic effect of Black light The series reveals Corsica’s interest in oscillating light conditions, connoting the historical nature of light and dark as concepts as well as that of distance (like stars in the night sky), subtlety and gradation of luster. Corsica said: “I am trying to bring in the reality of our moment.”

Corsica’s experimentation with the black surface continues to * Showroom 6. After moving from Los Angeles to the remote Topanga Canyon west of Los Angeles in the early 1970s, Marie Corsica started making ceramic works to explore what she felt to be the opposite of her ethereal White light paintings, which she produced since 1968. Her works in clay (earth) were an attempt to “anchor” her paintings and link them to the physical and earthly realm. She initiated the Black land series by taking plaster impressions of a large, flat rock in the hills near his house. After the plaster molds were made, they were transferred to clay and then turned into ceramic tiles fired with a shiny black glaze in a custom built updraft oven by the artist. The works were assembled in a grid-like format and mounted on the wall to create the Black land series.

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[About the Artist]

Marie Corsica (born in 1945, Berkeley, California) pursued a sustained investigation into abstraction, materiality and perception through subtly gestural and precisely geometric paintings produced during a career spanning six decades. Appeared among a generation of artists in the mid-1960s who lived and worked in California, light becomes both the subject and the object of his art. While studying at the Chouinard Art Institute in the late 1960s, she began experimenting with unconventional media and supports, producing shaped canvases, works with plexiglass and light boxes. Between 1966 and 1968, his interest in the relationship between light and perception led him to experiment with argon light boxes powered by Tesla coils. His work developed in parallel but away from the artists associated with the Light and Space movement in Los Angeles, to which she has often been compared. Unlike these artists, Corsica’s experiments with electric light eventually led her back to including visible brushstrokes in her paintings, a subjective gesture that she had previously suppressed. In the 1990s, Corsica reintroduced primary colors into her paintings based on her understanding of color as a constituent of white light. She continues to explore notions of subjectivity, perceptual awareness and the experience of radiant light and her paintings open up to their environmental surroundings by capturing and refracting light while engaging the viewer in physical and metaphysical encounters of the body and mind. Corsica’s innovative handling of materials that capture and refract light ensures that our perceptions of her paintings change as lighting changes or as we move through space. Corsica makes one feel the abstraction inherent in human perception instead of just seeing it.

Corse has organized numerous solo exhibitions, including the 2019 presentation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2018 and Dia: Beacon in 2018. The works of Corsica reside in the permanent collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum , new York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, new York; Dia Art Foundation, new York; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Long Museum, Shanghai; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among many others.

SOURCE Amorepacific Art Museum

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