Mary Corse at the Lisson

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‘I didn’t want to paint a picture of the experience of light – I wanted the painting to be the experience of light itself’

Walking into the Lisson one is confronted by a rectangular patch of shimmering white. I heard my voice rather stupidly asking the girl at the desk ‘what is that?’, hoping for a technical description of how it was made. As you got closer you could see that it was in fact a painting, in that it involved a surface and brush strokes, but the effect was elusive and unstable.

In the sixties she discovered that by embedding the tiny glass beads that are used to illuminate lane boundaries on roads, she could in effect
capture and refract light. Her procedures have been brought to a pitch of refinement in the paintings in this show which are all from 2017. The various bands of subtly different shades seem to dissolve as you move but then re-surface as you re-shift your weight.

These paintings are sufficient unto themselves. They do not tell us anything about the condition of the world in which they exist. In a way they seem remote, it is entirely up to us what we make of the experience. Not surprisingly none of this is properly conveyed by static photographs. Your really need to see them for yourself.

Mary Corse is at the Lisson Gallery, 67 Lisson Street NW1 5DA UK until 23 June.

 

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