Mary Corse

Born 1945, Berkley, CA. Lives and works in Topanga, CA.



Over the last five decades, Mary Corse’s practice has investigated perception, properties of light and ideas of abstraction, in which light serves as both the subject and object of the work. 

Corse is widely recognized for her innovative painting technique incorporating glass beads which both capture and refract light. She began creating the paintings after noticing how the white lines on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway lit up when struck by headlights—a phenomenon caused by glass microspheres embedded in the paint, as well as by her physical movement. Incorporating this discovery in her own practice, Corse combined tiny glass beads with acrylic paint and harnessed the refraction of light, creating the appearance of a radiating light that shifts based on the viewer’s position and movement around the painting.

Corse’s work has recently been the subject of a major exhibition at the Whitney Museum (opening at L.A. County Museum of Art in July 2019) and a three-year presentation at Dia: Beacon.