Larry Bell

"Larry Bell expanded the two-dimensional illusion
of a geometric form into actual space..."

Larry Bell : Early Work: October 22-November 26, 2011
Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica

"Most of my associates thought I was crazy to go to such ends just to work, but I was on a path that I felt needed total control of the media of working with light and its interface with the surface of the glass. By this time, I was aware that my media had no more to do with the interface than it did with the glass material. Glass had three qualities that were interesting to me, it transmitted, reflected, and absorbed light at the same time.

- Larry Bell

"Larry Bell's innovative sculptural work is integral to the development of the clean, clear look of Los Angeles art. Significantly, several series of paintings preceded the artist's well-known cubes and environments of the later 1960s. These early works, from the years 1959 to 1963, show a progression from paintings influenced by Abstract Expressionism, to early shaped canvases, to Bell's incorporation of geometric form within paintings."

Larry Bell's inquiry was driven by his sense that the image should relate directly to the plane of the canvas.
In these early works, Bell focused on visual perception and his questions led him to eliminate distractions such as gesture and tactile layering of paint. That focus on planes and the reduction of gesture meant that the image could suggest volume. In a work from 1961, Untitled, Bell introduces the illusion of a sculptural volume as well as the use of mirrored glass. Other pieces included in the exhibit employ glass, wood and paint and demonstrate the artist's interest in the medium of reflected light.

As Michele De Angelus has summarized, "…Bell expanded the two-dimensional illusion of a geometric form into actual space: his canvases became thick panels with the addition of clear and opaque, black and white glass and mirrors."

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"Frank Lloyd Gallery, established in 1996, represents contemporary painting, sculpture and ceramics. Primarily emphasizing major West Coast artists that emerged since 1950, the gallery also presents ceramic sculpture in the context of the contemporary art world. The recently expanded exhibition program featured a show titled Sculpture from the Sixties, which included major works by Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, Larry Bell, as well as Ken Price, John Mason and Peter Voulkos."