Inside the Art Studio of Mary Corse

A photo of Mary Corse sitting in her studio space


Mary Corse is an artist living and working in Topanga, California. In her practice, Corse is known for large-scale monochromatic and dichromatic paintings. Many of her paintings are solid white, but utilize different finishes and gloss coatings to achieve a specific relationship to the lighting of a space.


I enjoy the aesthetic of Corse’s studio here -- the vast, all-white canvases might seem cold at first, but the overall warmth of the space, and Corse’s smile help to create a more welcoming atmosphere. The paintings start to seem more like blank canvases upon which the viewer’s imagination can flourish.


Given the importance of light -- especially natural or variable light -- in Corse’s works, I’d imagine that there’s some kind of window somewhere in her studio, possibly just out of the photo frame. The warm tones in the photograph could indicate a sunny afternoon outside. The idea of utilizing light as such a present component of a painting is a fascinating one, and seems to open up a world of new possibilities for painting.


The artist’s works remind of some large monochrome pieces by Ian Wallace, or even of Robert Rauschenberg’s white paintings. With their close relationship to light, Corse’s works could even be compared to pieces by James Turrell -- though really, Corse’s works exist in their own unique frame of reference.

[image source]

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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