Light and Space/Finish Fetish

Light and Space/Finish Fetish
27 records
During the 1960s and 1970s, a number of Southern California artists—inspired by the local physical, social, and technological environments—experimented with perceptual and phenomenological concerns. Often grouped as light and space and finish fetish artists, their work utilized high-tech materials, particularly plastics, resins, and coated glass.

The light and space artists exploited the immateriality of their media to create works that seem to transcend solidity and gravity. The works of Robert Irwin become one with their surroundings; it is difficult to perceive where the art ends and the environment begins. James Turrell in Afrum and Doug Wheeler in Untitled (Light Encasement) use light itself as their medium, offering experiential environments in which light takes on a solid yet simultaneously ethereal quality. Larry Bell similarly exploits both the transparent and reflective aspects of glass. For his beautifully seductive boxes, Bell took advantage of high-tech coated glass, an especially Southern California alternative to the tougher industrial materials (such as steel, concrete, or plywood) favored by East Coast minimalists for their geometric sculptures.

Car and surf culture meanwhile informed the work of finish fetish artists such as Billy Al Bengston, John McCracken, Ron Davis, and Craig Kauffman, who lived or had studios near Venice Beach. They used plastics and synthetic resins as well as lacquered and polished wood and metal forms for their paintings and sculptures, the same materials used to produce surfboards and customized cars.

- Carol Eliel (2007)

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