Anna Campbell Bliss ’46’s Artistic Career Explored in Documentary, “Arc of Light”

December 11, 2014
Anna Campbell Bliss in her studio

A recent documentary film, Arc of Light, is shedding light on the previously under-celebrated work of Anna Campbell Bliss ’46.

Bliss was an art history and mathematics double major at Wellesley who then studied architecture at the Harvard University School of Design. Following her graduation from Harvard, Bliss moved to Minnesota to study the art of R. Buckminster Fuller before beginning her career as an artist in Utah. Arc of Light explores Bliss’s ties to the Bauhaus movement and its influence on her work—specifically, how her work with Bauhaus artist Gyorgy Kepes influenced her to fuse art, science, and technology together into such artistic pieces as 2001’s Extended Vision. That piece is composed of 100 anodyzed aluminum panels, extending through three floors of the Cowles Mathematics building at the University of Utah, and is the largest of Bliss’ site specific works.

On her website, she says, "Often the most exciting ideas emerge at the intersection where more than one discipline meets," which has a very Wellesley ring to it. Her work is in collections from the Metropolitan Museum in New York to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts to the Minami Gallery in Tokyo, and points between.

According to Tara Tappert, David B. Larson Fellow for Health and Spirituality at the Library of Congress, Bliss is a “pioneering yet still under-recognized artist [who] has not only fostered an awareness and appreciation for art in her home state of Utah, but over the last six decades has forged a unique brand of Modernism—one that draws from the past yet embraces the future.”

Arc of Light has aired on various public television stations in both New York and New Jersey, and has also been shown in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Watch for the film on your local public television station in order to experience the life and work of this talented Wellesley alumna.