Painting in a New Light: Michael Guidetti
One of the most important and undercelebrated sites of contemporary art in the country is the Live Oak Friends Meeting House by James Turrell in Houston, Texas. While it functions as an actual meeting place for Houston Quakers, it's also the location of the most remarkable skylight imaginable. A master of light and color, Turrell designed the ceiling so that the light is pulled inside and held within the space, making it physically present to viewers in the process.
A recent work by San Francisco's Michael Guidetti intensely recalls this practice, and while the experiential nature of his new media painting, Untitled (Standards), is vastly different, the use of light in a physical sense remains the same. Colorful bands of light creep across the painting, slowly changing hue across a 3-hour animated digital projection cast right on the picture plane. Never mind that the use of watercolor is noticeably controlled on the canvas, which is an achievement in and of itself. The skylight, windows, and sculptures depicted in the digital projection fluctuate in tone, from rich purples to creamy blues, stunningly recalling both Turrell's meeting house and the Surrealist light investigations of René Magritte. The work is also a sharp reflection of the role of contemporary painting in recent new media practices. —Evan J. Garza, Editor-at-Large