I like runic, Celtic, Druidic, cave painting, ancient, preliterate, from a time back when you were speaking to the lightning god, the ice god, and the cold-rainwater god.
Gagosian is pleased to present new paintings and negative wall sculptures by Michael Heizer. Heizer made the paintings in New York and completed the sculptures in Nevada.
Heizer began his artistic career in New York in 1966 with a series of geometric canvases painted with PVA latex, applied with a roller. He worked between the city and eastern Nevada intermittently and reopened a painting studio in New York in 2015, continuing his production of hard-edge shaped canvases and developing a new series of “wet” paintings, utilizing poured and scraped mineral pigments. Each canvas combines drawing, painting, and printmaking with seamlessly integrated results.
The unique and arrestingly modern Wet Paintings (2015–) employ unanticipated forms for their overall structures. Heizer poured and squeegeed solvent and water-based metallic paints, imparting to each canvas a dimensional topography. The thickly pigmented, uneven geological surfaces of some of these paintings are reminiscent of the topographies found in his dirt and rock sculptures, such as Dragged Mass (1983). The Wet Painting surfaces also incorporate silkscreened lines, which have been radically enlarged from small notations. Delicate contrasting halos painted around the edges of some canvases further emphasize their distinctive shapes.
The Hard-Edge Paintings (2015–16) are the latest iteration of paintings begun in the 1960s, and illustrate Heizer’s continued interest in positive and negative sculpture. The shaped canvases are propelled by a personal lexicon evolved from a broad base of reference, which includes European, Egyptian, and Mesoamerican art.
Heizer’s sculptures are known for their size, raw materials, and ability to awe viewers, both inside and outside of gallery confines. In this exhibition, Heizer once again shows the versatility and adventure of his concepts and actions through two negative wall sculptures. Fragment A (2016) is a 14-ton granite rock which appears to burst from a steel box embedded in the corner of a room. The granite has a rough, variegated surface with black and gold veins throughout. The size and weight of the rock require four steel rods running through drilled channels to fix it in place. Black Diorite Negative Wall Sculpture (1992–94), a top-heavy 5.7-ton black diorite granite rock, presents a round, smooth, dark black specimen that hovers precariously over the viewer. Both rocks recall the permanent outdoor installation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Levitated Mass (2012).
From the Quarterly
Behind the Art
Michael Heizer: New Paintings and Sculpture
Michael Heizer’s impressive installation at Gagosian Beverly Hills features new paintings that deny the conventional rectangular or square confines of the canvas, alongside negative wall sculptures, known for their size, raw materials, and ability to awe viewers.
Michael Heizer: Altars
Kara Vander Weg takes us through the artist’s 2015 Altars exhibition.
In 2012, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art debuted Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer. How it got there was a work of art in itself, and the topic of a documentary by Doug Pray. Derek Blasberg caught up with Pray to talk about his film.
October 16, 2018–February 2, 2019
May 9–July 2, 2015
West 24th Street, New York
Extended through April 2, 2016
An Index of Process and Mutation
January 14–April 2, 2016
Beverly Hills 20-Year Anniversary Invitational Exhibition, 1995–2015
October 30–December 19, 2015