Solid Light Works at Wakefield

I was in Leeds again this week meeting my tutor to discuss my research project (an unlikely mixing of the minds of architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, and sculptor, Barbara Hepworth). Having discussed where the project is going we decided to make another visit to the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery to see some archives and view the galleries. Having posted on the sculptor quite recently Hepworth at Henley-on-Thames  I thought it would be a good idea to see the Anthony McCall exhibition: Solid Light Works, which was being shown there.

McCall is a most interesting person working in a very specialist conceptual area of art. Born in England and educated at Bromley Art College he specialised in geometry, film and the effects of light. He moved to NewYork in 1973 and has resided there since, having had solo exhibitions in all the major galleries across the globe and many retrospectives. Now 72, his Hepworth Wakefield show brings to the fore all his youthful enthusiasm particularly in his sketchbook drawings and light projections.

 

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One of the many sketchbooks on display of Anthony McCall’s geometric drawings.

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Leaving (with two minute silence), Anthony McCall, 2006.

The wealth of drawings reveal McCall’s wonderful understanding of the geometry of light. His application is very minimalistic emphasised by his iconic Leaving (with Two Minute Silence) from 2006, and the performance piece, Five Minute Drawing, with its accompanying video. Here the artist scribes an arc and straight line with paper, string and charcoal.

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Five minute drawing, Anthony McCall,

The highlights of this show, however, are the transformation of the drawings into the spectator space using monochromatic white light projected into a smoke filled void. There are two of the gallery’s spaces dedicated to these. The spectator is guided into the matt black hazy room before emerging into the projection area. The experience is exhilarating as you find yourself moving about the space influencing the direction of the art, as the show itself transforms through time. Maybe the spirit of Isaac Newton or Euclid himself is in the room with you as the constraints of space, light and time seems to disappear and you feel the strength of the geometry and the piecing light rays playing with your senses. Still photography really doesn’t capture the fullness of these projections, working on all the senses.

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Endless vistas of  skies and seas that melt and merge, Anthony McCall.

There is much here to see and value;  the inspiration that is Anthony McCall is brought to this  award winning gallery, especially if you, (like me) enjoy the wonder that is geometry.

Solid Light Works is at The Hepworth Wakefield until 3rd June and is a must see.

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