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Sometimes the best discoveries don’t require meticulous planning, a long journey, or special shoes. Sometimes you just have to see what’s in front of you.
This is some of what Belgian photographer Harry Gruyaert has been seeing and recording for the rest of us over the last 40 years.
He is credited with helping to prove the point that European photographs could be in colour and still be taken seriously. Not that there is anything wrong with black and white.
Mr Gruyaert claims that he doesn’t think much about all this, and he avoids talking about it if at all possible.
The British Journal of Photography did manage to get a few words out of him, which can be read here
All images © 2015 Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos
White light has something that coloured light doesn’t. For one thing, it contains all the other colours, as some of us remember from science class. It’s the mother light, it’s got it all. The trio above are maybe thinking about this as they hang out near a wonderful piece by artist Doug Wheeler found here.
It was learning about Mr Wheeler’s work (for above, go here) that got us looking at white light and wondering about it. We’re none the wiser, really, but it sure feels good–and not just on the eyes.
Doug Wheeler has been conjuring up moving encounters with white light all over the place for about 40 years. He had a solo show in New York in January/February 2012, and the lovely thing above is showing in France this summer and beyond, it says here.
Artist Robert Irwin has also been busy for years and years exploring the wonders of white light. Above (seen here) is a recent installation of a 1971 work now called slant/light/volume. Another view below, found at the site of the Walker Gallery–for whose opening back then the piece was originally commissioned–shows the scale of it.
And the above view, from the Walker as well, shows the work alone at last beaming like a slice of the moon.
James Turrell seems to have become the best known American artist working with light his primary medium. While he has not limited himself to white light (he does things with blue that will make you forget who you are and why it mattered), when he does take on the mother light, he does a nice job. Of course.
It’s time to back slowly away from the white light before you find you can’t. Let’s retreat in stages, by way of three more doses of Doug Wheeler’s light work. All of these are found at the David Zwirner gallery.
Pssst–time to go now. You can come back. Meanwhile, there’s always the moon.
Yvonne Jacquette is a versatile artist who has taken as her special subject what the world looks like from high above it.
Above is called Midtown Composite (woodcut), found at soup.
This one, another night view of the big city, is Mixed Heights, found here
This is Minneapolis–could you guess? It’s one third of a trio, 1984 shown in Milkmag
Yvonne Jacquette was born in Pittsburgh and lives in New York City. Her work has been chosen for many public collections including those of The Metropolitan Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Staatliche Museum, Berlin, and The Whitney Museum of American Art.
All her works begin with direct studies in pastel on paper from jet airplanes, city high-rises, or from single-engine planes.
Every now and then, she has taken her talent outside the city. Above is called a Study for Little River Farm IV, 1979, which is owned by the Metropolitan Museum.
This, above, is the same piece of farm in colour, 1979, also from the MET
And here is a stunning aerial view of the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island, near Harrisburg Pennsylvania, 1982, seen here.
Above two, one a night street in the big city, one a highly lit company parking lot on the outskirts, are from dcmoore gallery
Back to New York, this is Yvonne Jacquette’s, New York Harbor Composite, 2003. Woodcut, owned by Yale University Art Gallery
There’s a book about Ms Jacquette and her work. Your library should have one.
She seems to have stepped into a space left alone by other artists and made it all her own. For us, she’s at her best at night, above the big city, a city on the water, with streets and waterways that go about their business unconscious of anyone watching from above.
Her work will remind you that the best moments in an airplane are often on the return flight, just before landing, when the lights of our home town come into view and we recognize a sign, a building, a bridge, a busy street.
Above is Pier A at Battery Park, New York, as seen by Yvonne Jacquette, found at The Brooklyn Rail
London light, the garden of the Victoria and Albert Museum, winter 2006/2007. You could walk through and things would change. Apparently “A collaboration between design collective United Visual Artists (UVA) and Robert Del Naja (aka 3D) of Massive Attack and his long-term co-writer Neil Davidge (as part of their music production company, one point six)”, so there you go.
James Turrell is one of a kind and so is the experience of being in one of his coloured-light spaces. You owe it to yourself. Above blue room (Ganzfield) from an installation in England reported here and the green room image is from here.
But there can be good light without colour–this from back when the world was black and white, by American photographer Robert Adams found here. A major exhibition of his work is said to be coming to my town in September. I’ll keep an eye out.