The Art of Light and Space

By Jan Butterfield

Photographer Jim McHugh

Release Date
Format Paperback 272 pages 8.5 x 11 inches 138 illustrations, 36 in full color
Category Art History
ISBN-13 978-0-78920-171-3

A fascinating investigation of Light and Space art by Robert Irwin, Maria Nordman, James Turrell, Doug Wheeler, and others.

Ethereal and evocative, the art of Light and Space pushes the viewer beyond the everyday limits of perception. It takes many different forms and uses many different materials, ranging from natural daylight and scrim to glass, plywood, neon, and fire. It taps into far-ranging ideas and systems of knowledge, including alchemy, Buddhism, aerospace technology, witchcraft, astronomy, physiology, and phenomenology.

Written by the foremost authority on the subject and based on more than two decades of research, The Art of Light and Space is the first book to provide an overview of this powerful and increasingly public art form. With rare photographs, extensive artist interviews, and her own insightful observations, Jan Butterfield vividly documents the history of this diverse and sometimes elusive work.

Following a useful introduction that succinctly places the art of Light and Space in the larger context of modern art, the book is divided into ten chapters, each focused on one artist: Robert Irwin, James Turrell, Maria Nordman, Douglas Wheeler, Bruce Nauman, Eric Orr, Larry Bell, DeWain Valentine, Susan Kaiser Vogel, and Hap Tivey. Insightful portrait photographs by Jim McHugh open each chapter and capture the quirky individuality of these inexhaustibly creative men and women. The innovative graphic design emphasizes the artists' own words, both in sidebars and in the text, making their voices unusually accessible.

No two artists have followed the same path, but in many cases the work has become increasingly approachable in recent years. Architects and urban planners have begun to incorporate Light and Space installations into public spaces ranging from the Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C., to the new building in Pasadena, California. Corporate, nonprofit, and private collectors have commissioned numerous major works, including a solar fountain in Denver, a tea house in Paris, and a fire-and-steam sculpture on a busy Los Angeles street corner.

The processes of creating the works seen here are as intriguing as the final results, and all are illuminated by the text, the illustrations, and the design of this provocative, invaluable volume.

EDITORIAL REVIEWS

"Light and Space art is the meditative, austerely sensual wing of conceptual art, and Jan Butterfield knows it better than anyone. The Art of Light and Space documents a highly elusive genre about as skillfully as it can be done, through rich description, interviews, extracts from the artists writings, philosophical epigraphs, and on-site photography. . .Butterfields blend of history and criticism has great personal immediacy; her ability to convey the impact of these powerful but ephemeral works without forcing them into any mold is admirable." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review

You May Also Like