How white is white? Larry Becker’s Luminous Room asks you to contemplate

There’s still time to see the white-on-white painting show, Luminous Room, at Larry Becker in Old City. The group show — including a new painting by Robert Ryman (made with putty and epoxy and looking violet in some lights) — will be up until shortly before the next show of works by Kocot and Hatton, which opens on March 21 with a reception from 5-7 PM.

Call Heidi and Larry first to make sure they’re in before you take off to visit the gallery. 215 925 5389.

Luminous Room at Larry Becker
Luminous room at Larry Becker.  Ryman’s painting is on the back wall flanked by Eve Aschheim and Tom Benson on your right and Joseph Marioni and Steve Riedell on the left. 

The Luminous room is for slow digestion. It’s also not for everyone.  But linger awhile and the “white” paintings reveal colors and textures that stray from the normal bland vanilla you think of when you think of white. I enjoyed most the Ryman for its wacky materials and violet aura and the Marioni which was positively green for all its intent to be white.  These works all play with the ambient light in the gallery and the Beckers have no track lights illuminating the space.  As the natural daylights shifts, so do the artworks.  There’s something about the show that reminds me of catching fireflies.  The white paintings are like those fireflies, their changing luminosity a fascination.

Beyond the luminous room in the gallery’s second space are deep, dark paintings reflecting nighttime: Velvety black (and green) digital prints by Kocot and Hatton and works by John Zurier and Merrill Wagner.  K and H’s prints show the l.e.d. readouts from their bedside digital alarm clock. (The pieces were in Arcadia’s A Closer Look show last year.)  The prints are part of the couple’s nocturnal output performed in the hypnopompic state. For their upcoming show they’ll have more hypnopompic output — blue paintings this time.