Larry Bell



“Light knots” (weightless sculptures by Larry Bell and “Light Knots” short film by Oliver Bell) opening reception welcoming over 150 guests was a smashing success.

The more exciting part for me was that I was able to present an established artist alongside of an emerging artist, father and the son.

Homeira Goldstein / Larry Bell

Homeira Goldstein / Larry Bell

Another exciting observation was the number of heavy weight artists present at the exhibition such as Ed Moses, De Wain Valentine, Peter Shelton, and then Andy Moses, John Van Hamersveld and Tom Vinetz and others. Then the mix of the crowed as to age and where they were visiting from was interesting. Many young art enthusiasts showed up, which was a testament to how exciting Larry’s new work is.

For those who don’t know Larry Bell, he was born in 1939 in Chicago, Illinois, and is a contemporary American painter and sculptor. He lives and works in Taos, New Mexico and Venice, California.

He studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and is a grant recipient from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, among many, and his artworks are found in many major private collections and cultural institutions.

Bell started painting with abstract Expressionist tradition. Then he began incorporating fragments and shards of clear and mirrored glass into his compositions. At the same time, he began to produce angular geometric compositions in his painting that alluded to three-dimensional forms. Next were a series of “Shadow Boxes” or “ghost boxes”, three-dimensional cases whose surfaces often featured shapes reminiscent of those in the preceding paintings.

Bell’s art addresses the relationship between the artwork and its environment through the multi-dimensional and reflective properties. Bell is often associated with Light and Space Movement, a group of mostly West Coast artists whose work is primarily concerned with perceptual experience stemming from the viewer’s interaction with their work. This group of artists includes, among others, James Turrell, John McCracken, Peter Alexander, Robert Irwin and Craig Kauffman.

Bell then began to make what is perhaps his most recognizable body of work, namely cube sculptures that rest on transparent pedestals in the early ’60s.

Bell’s “vapor drawings” and the more recent “mirage works”, are the products of Bell’s use of thin film deposition technology. The vapor drawings are created by using PET FILM to mask paper sheets, which are then coated.

The big mirage works became inspirational to his latest work “Light Knots”, focusing on light and surface, which is the subject of ARTS Manhattan Exhibition curated by Homeira Goldstein, Chairman of Board of ARTS Manhattan, to be held at the Manhattan Beach Art Center, 1560 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach – May 23, 2013 through June 29, 2013 – with the opening reception on Thursday, May 23, 2013 6:00-8:00 PM. The exhibition also features two short videos of Bell’s Light Knots produced by his son, Oliver Bell, highlighting the mezmerization of the phenomenon of light and surface.

“Light Knots”, seem to float in space and revel in ambient light. They are at once ghostly yet organic, substantial yet devoid of mass, tranquil yet dynamic.

Bell reflects: “they are so unpretentious; you don’t have to walk around them, they present themselves to you. With nearly zero weight and mass, they revolve elegantly with the slightest air current and display infinite gradations of color, opacity and reflection as well as variations of form. The Light Knots reward patience, revealing themselves over time to a stationary viewer.”

Light plays an essential role in Bell’s artworks and his legacy. The material transmits, absorbs, and reflects light, depending on the combination of minerals with which the surface is plated.