For generations, artists fascinated by light, color, space, and surface have innovated processes to capture and communicate their essence. They strive not only for beauty, but also for feeling. In Light and Surface, three artists — Michael Dee, Shingo Francis, and Norman Zammitt — use different media and come at their work from different histories and perspectives, but ultimately tackle many of the same issues.
Michael Dee’s interest in psychology, aerospace, and destruction manifests in artwork that takes many shapes and forms. In Light and Surface, the Los Angeles artist serves up translucent sculptures and explosive photographs referencing stars and clouds. His minimalist, polystyrene plastic sculptures Cloud (Small Black) and Star (Small Pink) address the allure of seductive surfaces and organized chaos, while the black, blue, pink, and purple Negative Star light-jet works on Fujiflex examine the commonalities of manmade and natural objects, and the destruction that draws us to them.
Shingo Francis’ paintings also evoke the sensibilities of Los Angeles’ Light and Space art with his expansive bands of color, as seen in Open Space, a gouache and acrylic on an 82-inch-long panel, and Sphere II, a gouache and acrylic work on Japanese paper. Born in Santa Monica in 1969 and raised in Japan until he was 13, Francis earned his BFA from Pitzer College in Claremont, and worked in Los Angeles and Tokyo before settling in New York City. Likewise, his paintings, including the 72x64-inch Orange and White, reflect the aesthetic associated Japanese minimalism and California Light and Space.
Norman Zammitt was a pioneer of the Light and Space movement. He worked with CalTech physicists to understand how light penetrates hues of color. In his paintings in Light and Surface, he measured the width of each band of color and created parabolic graphs to calculate the exacting color progression — not only for aesthetic precision, but also for emotional and spiritual effect. The colors seem to radiate as they shift, and the pictures — which may appear as a sunset, ocean or desert — exude an optimism that invites you to engage.