The American artist and sculptor Larry Bell (born 1939) is a leading member of the Californian “Light and Space” movement, creating work which explores the relationship between light and colour, solidity and translucency and art and the viewer through the sculptural and reflective properties of his compositions.
‘2D-3D: Glass & Vapor’ is Bell’s fourth solo exhibition at the White Cube Gallery and includes three of his early glass installations: Gone but not Forgotten (1969), Corner Lamp SB 8 (1981) and a ‘Standing Wall’ sculpture (1994) in addition to newer works on paper and his kinetic ‘Light Knot’ sculptures.
The exhibition illustrates the variety and sophistication of Bell’s work. The ‘Standing Walls’ sculpture is a series of L-shaped glass walls that are deceptively simple in their geometry, but sophisticated in the way that the light is reflected or transmitted through depending on the metallic and quartz films installed on the glass surfaces and ‘Gone but not Forgotten’ is four horizontal strips of glass, coated with Inconel, which is one of Bell’s first experiments with the plating process. In the corner of the gallery is one of his ‘Corner Lamps’ which, lit at a particular angle, creates a refractive coloured illusion.
Bell’s ‘Vapor Drawings’ have synergies with Marc Quinn’s “The Toxic Substances” at the White Cube Gallery in Bermondsey, London. Areas are masking out and the paper is coated then bent, folded or crumpled. His ‘Light Knot’ sculptures made from curved vacuum-coated sheets of polyester film allow reflected light to change them into a variety of shapes and colours as the visitor walks around them.
Bell is a master of the physics of light refraction as well as art.