Groundbreaking artists Larry Bell and Jesus Rafael Soto’s work on display at the Tampa Museum of Art

Jesus Rafael Soto's, "Color A La Izquierda, 1994," is on display as part of the Vapor and Vibration: The Art of Larry Bell and Jesus Rafael Soto at the Tampa Museum of Art.
[Photo by Jeremy Scott.]
Jesus Rafael Soto's, "Color A La Izquierda, 1994," is on display as part of the Vapor and Vibration: The Art of Larry Bell and Jesus Rafael Soto at the Tampa Museum of Art. [Photo by Jeremy Scott.]
Published May 4
Updated May 4

A new exhibition that opened at the Tampa Museum of Art this week features two of the 20th century’s most innovative artists, Larry Bell and Jesús Rafael Soto.

"Vapor and Vibration: The Art of Larry Bell and Jesús Rafael Soto" will be the first time the works of the two artists have been exhibited together in a show that explores light and space.

Both Bell, 78, and Soto, who died in 2005 at age 81, pushed the boundaries of traditional painting and sculpture, often experimenting with new materials and forms since the 1960s.

Rather than a full survey, select bodies of work from each artist are presented together in three sections: cubes and structures; vapor and vibration; and light and transparency.

Bell is associated with the light and space movement of American West Coast artists, and is known for his glass cube sculptures and his "vapor drawings," which are works on paper that use PET film.

Venezuelan-born Soto’s work in kinetic sculpture relies on the viewer’s perception and engagement with the sculptures and he often worked with Plexiglas to achieve optical illusions.

"Larry Bell and Jesús Rafael Soto were amongst the trailblazing artists altering the course of art history in the 1960s and 1970s," Joanna Robotham, curator of modern and contemporary art, said in an email. "Although they lived in different corners of the world, they shared similar creative interests, particularly in regards to their explorations of light and space. I am excited to introduce our audience to Bell and Soto’s groundbreaking works of art.

Contact Maggie Duffy at mduffy@tampabay.com.

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