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Saturday, December 31, 2016

The immersive optics of an Argentinian master in town

light piece from 2013
Walking into the Julio Le Parc retrospective show you must dodge Miami art lovers snapping selfies. Every piece seems the ideal backdrop. Warnings of the detrimental effects of strobe lights aside, the show starts with his paintings from the 1960's, and their virtual (movement) reality. Using formulaic color and a progression of forms with slight variations, he gives the impression of movement happening in the surfaces of the work. In fact- the painted canvases are completely interactive if you consider the active physical part being our eyes: our rods and cones go nuts!
Wind blows long strips of paper lit to enhance undulating tangled shadows

Le Parc then (chronologically) moves onto abstracting his paintings by adding wavy reflective metallic sheets that churn to the rhythm of their own embedded motors. Light and painted image reflect off of curved and moving reflective surfaces. Le Parc is a solid champion of early kinetic art. He layers and suspends bits of colored plastic so as to play with the projected color, the complex reflection and shadows.

The quintessential media for most Latin American works of the era is Plexiglass.
As a contemporary master, Le Parc has abandoned pigment and traditional surface completely. His medium is light and the absence of light. Motors and pendulums, and interactive stations with levers and dimpled reflective surfaces offer the viewer the chance to see how play affects the visual realm.
example of the interactive stations

 Julio Le Parc won the grand prize at the 1966 Venice Biennial, and has been working in France most of his adult life. This is his first major USA solo show. It will be at Perez Art Museum (PAMM) until March 19th, 2017. It's a good immersive show to share with guests, children, and anyone interested in the development of kinetic art and the field of light as a medium.
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