67 Lisson St
For her first major solo show in the UK, Mary Corse presents new and historically significant work at her inaugural exhibition at Lisson Gallery, London.
Based in Los Angeles, Corse has built a practice that occupies an independent space at the intersection of minimalist painting, Abstract Expressionism and scientific inquiry. Obsessively engaging with light and perception, Corse’s paintings embody rather than merely represent light, experimenting with the concept of subjective experience in new and innovative ways. From lightboxes to painting embedded with materials that refract light, Corse combines a philosophical quest for the portrayal of the infinite with a highly skilled methodical and scientific rigour. The exhibition at Lisson Gallery London coincides with two major presentations of the artist’s work in the United States: Corse’s first solo museum survey this June at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and a long-term installation at Dia:Beacon with recently acquired works, opening in May.
Lisson Gallery’s exhibition features ten works, including seven new works created specifically for the show. The presentation includes a selection from Corse’s White Black White and White Inner Band painting series, alongside a new lightbox – with works spanning from 2003 to 2018.
First gaining recognition in the mid-1960s, Corse is widely recognised for her innovative painting technique using materials which both capture and refract light. In 1968, she developed her ‘Electric Light’ series, for which she enrolled in a quantum physics course to allow her to secure the parts, engineer her own work, and experiment with wireless cording in order to “free the light painting from the wall”. It was this further education that led Corse to her theory that humans experience reality through an eternally subjective lens, maintaining that “there is nothing static in the universe”. Compelled to bring the subjective back into her work, Corse re-embraced the paintbrush and focused further on light, incorporating unconventional materials into her paintings to investigate the subtle differences in surface treatment. It is these materials – including the glass microspheres found in the reflective lines on motor highways – that allow her work their enigmatic and seductive quality, shifting before your eyes as you move around them.
Corse’s evolution as an artist has seen her refine and expand her practice, including the innovation of the ‘inner band’: a vertical stripe full of luminous, active brushstrokes that disappear into the surrounding field of the canvas from certain viewing angles. Realising that the inner band epitomised her career-long aim to demonstrate how dramatically perception affects our experience, she began a series of White Inner Band paintings in 1999. Since then, she has continued to hone her techniques, subtly evolve her core themes and resurrect materials from the preceding decades to captivating new ends.
The exhibition at Lisson Gallery includes Untitled (White Multiband, Vertical Strokes) (2003), incorporating glass microspheres in acrylic on canvas; multiple works from the innovative White Band series; and recent paintings from the Black Band series; alongside the lightbox Untitled (Electric Light) (1968/2017), composed of argon and Plexiglas.