Mary Corse and the Techno-Sublime
|Mary Corse, untitled (White Inner Band), 2003|
|Solar glory over Canada, 2005. (Wikimedia Commons)|
|Brocken Spectre (Wikimedia Commons)|
|Postcard of the Brocken Spectre|
As far back as 63 AD, visitors to China's Mount Emei recorded the same phenomenon, known as the Buddha light. The Christian West likewise saw it as holy or sublime (when it didn't reject it as demonic). The glory is conjectured to have been an inspiration for halos and gold-rayed holy figures bursting through clouds, such as the Virgin of Guadalupe.
|Manuel de Arellano, Virgin of Guadalupe, 1691.LACMA|
|Contemporary glass microbeads. You can buy them on Amazon ($49.97 for a 10-pound bag)|
|Mary Corse, untitled (White Inner Band)|
Corse is described as an artist's artist. James Turrell rated her the most underrated artist of her (his) generation. Her art is one of subtle distinctions, resisting elevator pitches and street banners. Spectres are not easy to Instagram.
The LACMA show is a mere 25 works, but that feels just about right. So does Renzo Piano's overhead light on the top floor of BCAM. For those willing to take time, Corse's paintings remind us what a magical thing light is.