michael heizer: early paintings, altars and granite at gagosian gallery
 
michael heizer: early paintings, altars and granite at gagosian gallery
jun 30, 2015

michael heizer: early paintings, altars and granite at gagosian gallery

michael heizer: early paintings, altars and granite at gagosian gallery
(above) altar 2, 2015
weathering steel, coated with polyurethane,
89 1/2 x 480 x 520 inches (227.3 x 1,219.2 x 1,320.8cm)
image © michael heizer / courtesy gagosian gallery / photography by robert mckeever

 

 

michael heizer: altars
gagosian gallery, new york
now through july 2, 2015

 

 

 

from now until july 2, 2015, gagosian new york presents the exhibition ‘altars’ by michael heizer, comprising rarely or never-before-seen early paintings, the ‘altar’ series of new steel sculptures, and negative wall pieces featuring igneous rocks. the american artist largely works outside of the confines of museums, redefining the genre in terms of dimension, volume, material and process. for the exhibition in manhattan, heizer interprets his own words ‘size is real. scale is imagined size’ through a selection of significant past , and monumental new works sited within the gallery rooms.

michael heizer altars gagosian gallery
altar 1, 2015
weathering steel, coated with polyurethane — 95 x 536 1/2 x 480 inches (241 x 1,362.7 x 1,219.2cm)
image © michael heizer / courtesy gagosian gallery / photography by robert mckeever

 

 

 

altar 1, altar 2, and altar 3 are massive forms that invade the gallery spaces. originally conceived thirty years ago and only recently completed at this scale, the trio of works are informed by a variety of pictographic influences — from rock carvings to icons of cattle-branding. each of the tiered steel platforms measuring up to 40 square feet feature undulating forms that lean dynamically at contrasting angles. the surfaces comprise silkscreened, fragmented black and white images derived from the artist’s own photographs and drawings. by bringing together motifs from different cultures, eras and styles, heizer strives to create a resonant art for a multifaceted world.

michael heizer altars gagosian gallery
potato chip, 2015
18-ton granite rock in steel frame
172 x 106 3/4 x 92 inches (436.9 x 271.1 x 233.7 cm)
image © michael heizer / courtesy gagosian gallery / photography by robert mckeever

 

 

 

in the series of ‘negative wall sculptures’, heizer harnesses the innate beauty of mineral specimens. the works include a 10 x 12 inch blue diorite that sits 14 inches deep into a wall, ‘asteroid’ — a cinnamon-colored 12-ton ore rock — and ‘potato chip’ — an 18-ton granite monolith. these sculptures are motivated by heizer’s desire to ‘create an absence and then refill the same void’. the rocks are set into rectangular apertures cut into the gallery walls, creating a tension between viewer, nature, and architecture.

michael heizer altars gagosian gallery
altar 3, 2015
weathering steel, coated with polyurethane,
62 1/2 x 360 x 379 1/2 (158.8 x 914.4 x 963.9 cm)
image © michael heizer / courtesy gagosian gallery / photography by robert mckeever

 

 

 

the shaped canvases from the 1960s and 1970s demonstrate heizer’s early exploration of the balance between positive and negative forms. in ‘trapezoid painting’ and ‘track painting’, the artist draws attention to the edges of raw canvases by painting them black, while the white interiors are perceived as negative spaces.

michael heizer altars gagosian gallery
altar 3, 2015
weathering steel, coated with polyurethane,
62 1/2 x 360 x 379 1/2 (158.8 x 914.4 x 963.9 cm)
image © michael heizer / courtesy gagosian gallery / photography by robert mckeever

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