Mary Corse, Untitled (White Multiband, Beveled), 2019, glass microspheres in acrylic on canvas, 36" × 120" (91.4 cm × 304.8 cm) © Mary Corse, Courtesy Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Pace Gallery, Lisson

Mary Corse



b. 1945, Berkeley, California

Mary Corse investigates materiality, abstraction, and perception through the subtly gestural and precisely geometric paintings that she has made over her sixty-year career.

Earning a BFA in 1968 from Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, Corse developed her initial work during the emergence of the Light and Space movement in Southern California. Throughout the 1960s, she experimented with unconventional media and supports, producing shaped canvases, works with plexiglass, and illuminated boxes. In 1968, Corse discovered glass microspheres, an industrial material used in street signs and dividing lines on highways. Combining these tiny refractive beads with acrylic paint, she creates paintings that appear to radiate light from within and produce shifts in appearance contingent on their surroundings and the viewer’s position. First developing her White Light paintings, by the 1970s she began making her Black Light series with black acrylic and microspheres. The Black Earth works followed-large ceramic slabs that she fired in a custom-built kiln and glazed black. After thirty years of working monochromatically, she reintroduced primary colours into her paintings based on her understanding of colour as constitutive of white light. Corse’s art emphasizes the abstract nature of human perception, expanding beyond the visual to include subtleties of feeling and awareness.

In 2021, Corse was the subject of a major solo exhibition at the Long Museum, Shanghai which traveled to the Amorepacific Museum of Art in Seoul. Mary Corse: A Survey in Light, the artist’s first solo museum survey, was presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Comprehensive catalogs were published with both surveys. A focused presentation of Corse’s work was on view at Dia: Beacon in New York for four years highlighting historical works from the collection.

Corse was also included in the major presentation Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A., Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970 at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in 2011. The artist’s work can be found in the permanent collections of Dia Art Foundation, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the National Gallery, Washington D.C.; The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Long Museum, Shanghai; Amorepacfic Museum, Seoul; and other institutions.


Mary Corse, Untitled (Black Earth), 1978, fired earth clay tile, 23" × 23" (58.4 cm × 58.4 cm) © Mary Corse, Courtesy Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Pace Gallery, Lisson


Mary Corse, Untitled (Electric Light), 1968/2018, argon, Plexiglas, high-frequency generator, light tubes, monofilament, 61-1/8" × 11-1/4" × 8" (155.3 cm × 28.6 cm × 20.3 cm, overall installed © Mary Corse, Courtesy Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Pace Gallery, Lisson