Showcasing over 100 remarkable artworks from the past 200 years, this beautiful book reveals how the intangibility of light continues to fascinate us.
Light has been an enduring subject in art. In all mediums, artists have exploited the contrasts between light and dark, opposed cool and warm colours, drawn on science, and attempted to capture the transient effects of light and its emotional associations.
This book explores how artists have perceived, illustrated and utilised light since the eighteenth century. Beginning with the British artist J.M.W. Turner, who captured triumphant explosions of light and sought to represent its ephemerality in paint, it reveals how his expressive use of colour and interest in evanescent light influenced the French Impressionists. For them, light became the subject itself, as the likes of Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and others ventured outside to capture the momentary effects of sunlight on canvas.
Exploring later innovations in photography, the book also highlights how this became a critical vehicle through which artists began to use light itself as a medium, eschewing subject matter to create photographs that more closely resembled moving abstractions than still images. By the 1960s artists including Dan Flavin, James Turrell and Lis Rhodes had begun to work with artificial light to create new types of sculptures and immersive installations, repositioning the spectator as participant. Many artists like Olafur Eliasson and Tacita Dean continue to work with light, encouraging viewers to question their own positions and perspectives.
Kerryn Greenberg is an art historian and curator, and former Head of International Collection Exhibitions at Tate. ----------------------------
Light By Kerryn Greenberg PUBLISHER Tate Publishing NO OF PAGES 100 pp PAPERBACK ISBN 9781849768047