Light and Space art
The use of radically new art-making materials and the dematerialization of the art object characterize Light and Space art. It can be considered a descendant of the earlier Los Angeles Look, whose practitioners experimented with unusual materials such as cast resin and fiberglass.
As immaterial as Conceptual art, Light and Space art focuses less on ideas than on sensory perceptions. Robert Irwin has created numerous installations in which constantly changing natural light—often filtered through transparent scrims—is used to redefine a space. For viewers, his mysterious light-shot environments intensify sensory awareness and heighten the experience of nature itself in the form of light.
Works of Light and Space art have frequently—and aptly—inspired either scientific or metaphysical interpretations. Irwin and James Turrell, for instance, investigated the phenomenon of sensory deprivation (which influenced the development of their similarly spare light works) as part of the art-and-technology program initiated by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1967. For his series of works on the theme of alchemy, Eric Orr has used natural light as well as blood and fire.
Extracts from 'Artspeak' by Robert Atkins (copyright (©) 1990, 1997 by Robert Atkins) reproduced by permission of Abbeville Press, Inc.