In the summer of 1951 artist Robert Rauschenberg shocked the art world by creating his series of White Paintings. Subtle and completely devoid of narrative, they brought focus to the canvas itself, to the brush strokes and most beautifully to the way light interacted with all of it.
Twenty years later artist Robert Irwin redirected attention back to this idea with his white scrim piece, Slant/Light/Volume, at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN. In both works all the elements were simple, just white, a surface, light, angles, and a moment of pure interaction with the piece.
Although these works were created by famous artists for museum settings, these concepts can be taken from the gallery walls and experimented with at home.
Prisms, a white canvas, small mirrors and shadows proved to be the most fun for me. Basically whatever you have at home that will catch the light and reflect it.
Playing with little mirrors was fun, but what I found most fascinating was how much the white canvas changed throughout the day. From a bluish white in the morning, to a warm white in the afternoon sun, the canvas transformed before my eyes. Some critics may poke fun at white paintings in art, but I have to say they are missing out on the delightful mutability of a pure and simple moment.
*Last time in Crafts and Imagination: Making Maps with the San Diego Children's Discovery Museum