Cathy Cunningham-Little Blue Dot for Meditation. 2011 neon, mixed media. 36x36x8 inches

Cathy Cunningham-Little Blue Dot for Meditation. 2011 neon, mixed media. 36x36x8 inches

In the spirit of the 1960’s Southern California Light and Space movement, the works in Lightspace incorporate light as a means of bringing the viewer’s attention to his or her own perception. In doing so, the viewer is invited to become more present--more conscious of the here and now.  

Entering a light projection installation by Amy Ho is reminiscent of entering one of James Turrell’s constructed light environments. In Ho’s Wall Space III, what appears to be a curved corridor illuminated at the far end is a nearly seamless continuation of the gallery’s architecture. Like photographer James Casebere, Ho photographs constructed architectural models, which she then projects as room-size installations. In these mysterious, meditative immersive spaces, one’s perception and comprehension of the physical surroundings transform with prolonged viewing. 

Kana Tanaka’s mesmerizing suspended glass installations explore light and visual perception. Dozens of threads or extremely fine strands of extruded glass cascade down from the ceiling to create a diaphanous cloud in which glass droplets appear suspended, sometimes coalescing into a plane or singular form. At certain angles, the glass strands and droplets are nearly invisible, requiring the viewer to shift positions in order to see them; at other angles, light infuses and sparks off the glass. These magical effects are alluded to in Mary Corse’s paintings with glass micro-spheres and Robert Irwin’s acrylic columns, but Tanaka pushes the envelope by treating glass as an atmospheric ingredient, creating its own perception-rich environment. 

Keira Kotler’s experiential I Look for Light paintings also invite the viewer to move in relationship to the artwork because the surface qualities change accordingly. She builds thirty to ninety layers of translucent pigmented urethane, one layer per day, on mirror-coated acrylic panels. These light-imbued, plastic-based paintings with shifting hues and luminosity within almost monochromatic fields recall the sculptures of DeWain Valentine and Craig Kauffman. Kotler’s Cut Paintings recall Robert Irwin’s exploration of translucency, light, shadow and their ability to visually define or dissolve form. In these, she excises geometric shapes from surfaces painted on the reverse sides of etched acrylic panels. The light-diffusing panels float away from the wall, casting shadows and around their edges as well as through the areas of removed pigment, through which light is also transmitted, creating complex visual subtleties noticed slowly over time.

Also interested in visual sensation and partly inspired by her father’s hallucinations after losing his sight, Cathy Cunningham-Little creates soft-focus images of emitted colored light. Using neon within light boxes diffused by plastic, fabric and other materials, she creates glowing concentric circles, squares and slits. Unlike Dan Flavin’s bare neon tubes, Cunningham-Little’s light sources are obscured within a haze of blurred color. Here again, the viewer’s position impacts perception—some of the artworks’ centers appear larger and lighter as one moves closer and smaller and darker when one moves further back. In Cunningham-Little’s words, “After a few minutes of viewing, these pieces are transformed through our own perceptual physics, encouraging awareness of the state of our consciousness and the shape of our perception.”

- Chandra Cerrito, Curator

About the Artists

Cathy Cunningham-Little lives in San Antonio, TX. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at the San Antonio Museum of Art; Santa Reparata Int’l School of Art in Florence, Italy; Museum of Neon Art, Los Angeles; HsinChu Municipal Cultural Center, Taiwan; Mexic-arte Museum, Austin; Seto Shinyou Kinko Gallery, Seto, Japan; and the Austin Museum of Art. She studied at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. 

Amy Ho lives in the Bay Area and received her BA from UC Berkeley in 2005 and her MFA from Mills College in 2011. Her work has been shown in numerous galleries and alternative spaces throughout San Francisco and the East Bay as well as in New York, New Jersey, Arizona, New Mexico, Miami, FL and the Czech Republic.

Keira Kotler received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2006. She lives in the Bay Area and maintains a studio in New York. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and nonprofit art spaces nationally, including in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, Boston, Santa Fe and Miami. This is her fourth exhibition at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary.

Kana Tanaka was born in Japan and resides in the Bay Area. She received her BA from the National Aichi University of Education in Japan and her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. She has shown extensively throughout the United States and Japan, including solo exhibitions at Southern Exposure in San Francisco, Napa Valley College, Gallery 60 for Craft Art in New York City and ReSearch Art Gallery in Chicago. This is her third exhibition at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary.

Exhibition Gallery