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“Radiant Space”
McClain Gallery, Houston, Texas
Recommendation by Donna Tennant

“Radiant Space” installation view at McClain Gallery, 2016

Continuing through August 13, 2016

Gary Lang’s powerful target painting on a complementary blue wall just inside the entrance to “Radiant Space" sets the tone for this impressive selection of glowing, translucent, transparent and reflective works of art. Wall pieces and freestanding sculptures by nine artists fill the large front gallery and two smaller spaces with color and light. Although one might assume that these artists are from California, only five reside on the West Coast. The others work in New York City, with the exception of Mark Vaux, age 84, who hails from England. It’s an intriguing mix of old and young, and all share an interest in minimalist, geometric work enlivened by color. Pieces by Peter Alexander, Gisela Colon, Larry Bell and Christian Eckart seem to glow, while those by the venerable Richard Anuszkiewicz, 86, and Gary Lang pay homage to Optical Art. Anuszkiewicz’s bold pink square centered on a larger reddish-orange square and Lang’s labor-intensive targets appear to be vibrating.

Bell, Alexander and DeWain Valentine were affiliated with the Light and Space movement that evolved in Los Angeles during the 1960s. Characterized by an interest in how an art object can affect viewers’ perceptions, it led the proponents to experiment with industrial materials such as glass, resin, urethane, cast acrylic, and neon and florescent light. In “Radiant Space,” industrial materials used by the artists include cast polyester resin (Valentine), urethane (Alexander), blow-molded acrylic (Colon), colored glass and stainless steel (Bell), and aluminum paper and dichroic glass (Stephen Dean). Materials aside, the tone here is serene, thanks to pieces that transform the galleries into contemplative, spiritual spaces. Eckart in particular aspires to achieve a mystical effect, seeing his paintings as “an entryway or vehicle to the transcendent.” Experiencing this exhibition is both visually stimulating and emotionally satisfying.

McClain Gallery

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