Whitechapel Gallery

Keith Sonnier

09 Jun - 11 Sep 2016

Keith Sonnier
Ba-O- Ba VI, 1970
Courtesy of the Artist and Haeusler Contemporary Munich/Zurich. Copyright: Haeusler Contemporary Munich/Zurich. Photograph: Wolfgang Stahl
Light Works, 1968–70
10 June – 11 September 2016

Making three-dimensional drawings with neon, American artist Keith Sonnier (b.1941) bathes spaces and bodies in the radiance of coloured light. Coming of age with a group of artists that included Lynda Benglis, Mary Heilmann, Bruce Nauman and Richard Serra, he uses a post-minimalist language that is physically immediate yet associative.

Four major early works made between 1968 and 1970 transform the 19th-century architecture of the gallery, combining neon with other industrial materials like glass, foam rubber and wiring. Geometric form contrasts with dashes of colour and a luminous glow to suggest the syntax of poetry and a nod to Sonnier’s roots in the multi-lingual, Creole culture of Louisiana.

Tags: Lynda Benglis, Mary Heilmann, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra, Keith Sonnier