Light can make the most ordinary elements feel magical, animated. A suffusion of sunlight fills me with joy, optimism, energy. The first four images are by Uta Barth who is the first person I think of when I think of capturing a tangible sense of light. These images of light caught by drapery, are from the series ...and to draw a bright white line with light, 2011.
And music to accompany...Japancakes "When You Sleep", a cover of a Bloody Valentine's song.
Above: Fairfield Porter (1907-1975), Katie on Sofa, 1959. There's a glorious feeling of sunshine in this room. Porter was a figurative realist during the height of abstract expressionism, living in a world of abstract painter friends. He is one of my absolute favorite painters, using domestic scenes as a frequent subject. I love the way he captures light.
Above: Fairfield Porter, Armchair on Porch,1955
Above: Vilhelm Hammershoi, 1864-1916. The light making sunlit windows on the wall is as much the subject here as the woman sitting at a table.
Above: Jan De Vliegher, Window, 2010
Above: William Eggleston "Untitled (St. Simons Island, Georgia), 1978. Light animates this ordinary scene making it feel almost divine.
Above: Edvard Munch (1863-1944), The Girl at the Window, 1894, drypoint print.
Above: Luis Barragan, Casa Barragan, Guest Room
Above: Found here.
Above: Lois Dodd, Reflected Light on Brick Wall, 2014
Above: Space and photographer unknown. Found here.
Above and below: James Casebere photographs models of architectural spaces he creates, where the play of light gives depth and substance. It's only when you see his head inside the model (below) that the scale becomes clear. The piece above is Sienna, 2003.
Above and below: Robert Irwin's installation, Untitled, (dawn to dusk), 2016, at the Chinati Founndation in Marfa, Texas. Set in a long abandoned former army hospital, this is the only permanent, freestanding structure conceived by Irwin as a total work of art. These photos, by Alex Marks found here. Irwin is an early light/space artist.
Above: Lucia Koch, Green Juice, 2017. This mysterious space is just a cardboard box.
Photo: Laura Clayton Baker
Above: A photo I took early morning, at a house we've spent many summers in, on the California coast.
Above: Leslie Williamson, from her book "Modern Originals", Rizzoli, the interior of Le Corbusier's cabin in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France. The slit of light from the tiny window makes the wood inside glow. Photo has been edited.
Above: Rembrandt (1606-1669), The Philosopher in Meditation, 1632.
Above: Caroline Walker, Guest, 2015.
Photo: Andrew Dunkley + Marcus Leith
Above: Olafur Eliason, The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London. People come here to bask in the sun on overcast or chilly days even though it's only the created sun, not actual warmth.
Above: Manhattanhenge, (named after Stonehenge) which occurs once in May and once in July happens when the sun sets at just the right angle to align with the cross town streets.
Above: James Turrell "Akhob", 2013, Louis Vuitton, Las Vegas, Nevada
Above: Dan Flavin installation, 1976, Varese Corridor, Panza Collection, Varese, Italy.
Above and below: Dan Flavin permanent installation at Dia Bridgehampton, Long Island, NY. The work is installed in a beautiful turn of the century shingle style firehouse, later a church, before its new incarnation as Dia Bridgehampton. I think this is a great place to see Flavin's work. In person there's something about the old building that sets it off especially well.
Above: Joel Meyerowitz, from his book Cape Light, "Provincetown, 1976".
Photo: Laura Clayton Baker
Above: A corner in Luis Barragan's Casa Barragan in Mexico City where a yellow filter on the skylight colors the white walls yellow.
Photo: Rene Burri
Above: Luis Barragan's entry to his home, Casa Barragan. An often photographed iconic space, this photo by Rene Burri captures it beautifully. The golden painting at the top of the stairs was commissioned from artist Mathias Goeritz to reflect light into the windowless space below.
Above: Jame's Casabere's abstraction of Luis Barragan's entry space in Casa Barragan, Mexico City.
Above: Alex Katz "4 pm", 1959
Above: JMW Turner (1775-1851), Sunrise with Sea Monsters, 1845.
Above: John Derian, here, Provincetown bedroom
Above: Pieter Janssens, called Elinga, (1623-1682), Room in a Dutch House, late 1660s/early 1670s. Collection Hermitage Museum.
Above: Georges de La Tour, A Girl Blowing on a Brazier, 1646-1648
Above: Caroline Walker, Lighting Candles, Evening, March, 2019
Above and below: Caroline Walker, from her series "Janet", images of her mother at home, making her bed, doing laundry, cooking. There's something very moving about the way she watches and documents her mother. In the painting above the glow of the fire warms the room. Below, looking into the kitchen from outside there's a glow of warm domesticity viewed from twilit blue darkness outside. I like the way Walker's theme connects to the two previous works from the 1600s. She's done other series also to do with working, that you can see here: women cleaning offices buildings, working in nail salons, tailoring, and retail. The loose abstracted realism makes the work come alive for me. There's a great video of Caroline Walker talking about working on the "Janet" paintings here.
Above: Caroline Walker, Making Fishcakes, Late Afternoon December, 2019
Above: Dean Chamberlain, "Laura Huxley". Chamberlain uses a technique called "Light Painting" where he uses a handheld light and a very long exposure to light a room, allowing him to be invisible. This photo is from a series of elder psychedelic pioneers.
Above: Mary Shea, Moonlight, 2020
Above: James Turrell, Juke Blue, 1968, Projection piece
Above: Larry Bell From a 2104 installation at the Chinati Foundation, "6 x 6 An Improvisation", 2014. Photo by Alex Marks. These were from a collection called Standing Walls, where pieces of treated glass were joined at 90 degree angles, and here there are 16 of those assemblies. Larry Bell is one of the early light and space artists.
Above: Still from Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", 1977
Above: Patrick Caulfield "Evening Paper", 1999
Above: James Turrell, Guggenheim Museum installation "Aten Reign", 2013.
Above: James Turrell, "Ganzfeld Apani", 2011, Museum Frieder Burda
Above: Olafur Eliasson, "Your rainbow panorama". The piece is a 500 foot long x 10 foot wide corridor perched atop the ARoS Museum of Modern Art in Aarhus, Denmark, completed in 2011.
Above: Dan Flavin installation, Donald Judd's loft bedroom, photo by Alex Marks.
Above: Larry Bell "Venice Fog: Recent Investigations", 2018. At Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, Bell has made an exhibition of new laminated glass works with color combinations inspired by the marine fog which rolls into Venice California, where Bell's studio has been since the 1960s.
Above: Fred Eversley, Untitled (parabolic lens), 1974, 2018, David Kordansky Gallery. Eversley, like Larry Bell, has been based in Venice California for many years. Prior to becoming an artist he was an engineer working with NASA and the aerospace industry where he became interested in the parabola, the only shape that focuses all forms of energy to a single focal point.
Above: Found here.
Above: Anthony McCall "Long Film for Four Projectors", 1974, Sean Kelly Gallery
Above: Anthony McCall, Meeting You Halfway, 2009, Sprueth Magers Gallery
Above: Serpentine Gallery, Peter Zumthor, found here.
Above: Roy DeCarava, Sun and Shade, 1952
Above: Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991 Seventh Avenue Looking South from 35th St., Manhattan, December 5, 1935
Above: Bertram Schmiterlow (1920-2002), Via Condotti, Rome, 1984
Above: Robert Steingarten Bridge Abutment, 1940s
Photo: Steven Baker
Above: At home
Above: Peder Balke (1804-1887), Northern Lights, 1870s
Above: Light pillars in Russia, rarely seen. These occur when light is refracted by ice crystals, and take on the color of surrounding light.
Above: Anna Boberg, Northern Lights, Study from North Norway. In the summer of 1901 Boberg made her first visit to the Lofoten islands off the northwest coast of Norway, returning some 30 times summer and winter to paint in different light conditions.
Above: World Trade Center memorial lights.
Above: Postcard showing movie premiere at Carthay Circle Theatre, Los Angeles
Above: Le Corbusier's Ronchamp Chapelle Notre-Dame du Haut, 1955, interior, photographer unknown
Above: Kathryn Lynch, Small Fireworks, 2008, Sears Peyton Gallery
Above: Fireworks celebration at the Biden/Harris inauguration, January 20th, 2021.
Above: Berenice Abbott (1898-1991), Light through prism, 1958
Above: Double rainbow moment from a video, 11/7/2018m
Above and below: Ellsworth Kelly's Temple for Light, "Austin", at the University of Texas's Blanton Museum of Art. "Austin" is Ellsworth Kelly's final work and only building, originally commissioned for a location in Santa Barbara in 1986, but finally constructed on the grounds of the University of Texas in 2018, with construction beginning just 2 months before Kelly passed away. Read more here.
Above: Helen Pashgian, Untitled 2010-2011, Cast Epoxy
Above: Hiroshi Sugimoto, Teatro dei Rozzi, Siena, 2014.
Above: Officers in training using searchlights during WWII, February 28th, 1944, UK.
Above: Hal Morey, Grand Central Terminal, 1930.
Above: The mysterious "Great LA Air Raid", February 25th 1942
Above: Jens Ferdinand Willumsen (1863-1958), Sun Over Southern Mountains, 1902
Above: Rockwell Kent, Moonlight, Winter, 1940, Whitney Collection
Above: Peder Balke, North Cape, 1840s
Above: Aurora borealis, photographer unknown.
Above: Olafur Eliasson, "Your rainbow panorama". A section of the rainbow corridor perched atop the ARoS Museum of Modern Art in Aarhus, Denmark, completed in 2011.
Photo: Tom St. George
Above: Light shining into Cenote El Pit, Yucatan peninsula, Mexico.
Above: Amangiri Resort and Spa Canyon Point, Utah, completed 2008. This photo shows an underground spa lit by a skylight that seems to be an abstracted man made cenote or grotto.
Above: Another man made grotto lit by a skylight is this one by Luis Barragan, at the Casa Gilardi, 1975-77.
Above: Gioacchino La Pira (1839-1870), The Blue Grotto of Capri.
Above and below: Teshima Art Museum, Seto Inland Sea, Japan, designed by Ryue Nishizawa and Rei Naito in 2010.
Above: Oculus lighting a concrete wall.
Above: The Pantheon, a former Roman temple and now a church, is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome, almost 2,000 years after it was built. The oculus is about 30 feet wide, and when it rains, the rain comes in. It was intended both for light and to enable contemplation of the heavens. It also cools the building, and lightens the weight of the concrete.
Above: 1960s conversation pit, the round window making a nice pattern on the wall.
Above: Nancy Holt (1928-2014), Sun Tunnels, 1973-1976. Holt created "Sun Tunnels", a land art installation, in Utah's Great Basin Desert consisting of four 9' diameter concrete cylinders arranged on the desert floor in a cross pattern so as to align with the sunrise and sunset on the summer and winter solstices. A terrific video about them here.
Above: Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona
Above: Agnes Pelton (1881-1961), The Ray Serene, 1925. Agnes Pelton "was a visionary symbolist who depicted the spiritual reality she experienced in moments of meditative stillness". She grew up mostly in Brooklyn, studied at Pratt, in Europe, and with Arthur Wesley Dow. After many years on Long Island, at 50 she found her true home in Cathedral City, near Palm Springs, California, and spent the rest of her life there. She worked there in obscurity, making desert paintings for tourists to support herself, but has come to greater attention recently, with a solo show at the Whitney in NY.
Above: Agnes Pelton, Being, 1926
Above: Edvard Munch (1863-1944), "The Sun", 1911-1916
Above: Sarah Manolescue "Box Set Binge", 2020
Above: Joel Meyerowitz, from his book Cape Light, "Wilson Cottage, Wellfleet, 1976".
Photo: Laura Clayton Baker
Above: House in Wellfleet, September, 2014
Above: Alex Katz, Lincolnville Harbor, 1994
Above: Lois Dodd "Night House with Lit Window", 2012
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio
Above: Mary Weatherford "The Gate" 2018, from a show at Gagosian in NY. Weatherford was inspired to work in neon after a dusk drive through Bakersfield, a place abundant with neon signs.