Michael Heizer: Works from the 1960s and 70s currently on view at David Zwirner features paintings and a sculpture by the pioneering Land Artist who works primarily in large-scale earthworks. These rarely exhibited pieces explore similar themes as his earthworks, namely "the contrasting qualities of negative and positive forms," (from the show's press release).
Heizer's artwork "focuses on the tension that occurs" when "positive and negative forms" and/or "mass and space" are brought together. His paintings and sculptures explore the relationship between "mass and emptiness" or "presence and absence" on a much smaller though no less significant scale than his "monumental" earthworks do. Many of Heizer's canvases, which are typically painted in earthy, desert colors, reject conventional framing and have portions cut out of their edges, leaving glaringly empty and void spaces. For Slate Triptych (1979), the artist applied a "transparent layer of color" to the canvas creating a "positive and negative surface" which draws attention to "the presence and absence of space in relationship to mass and color." Heizer's sculptures employ "an extreme reduction of form" that emphasizes "the spatial function form has within the 'emptiness' of space." Heizer's subtle yet bold Minimalist works remind us that sometimes what isn't there can be just as important as what is.
Heizer's earth art is influenced by ancient architectural ruins that were introduced to him by his archeologist father. Many of his earthworks involve "depressions and trenches in the ground" to illustrate "displacement and space." Heizer is currently based in Nevada where he has been focusing on City, which will potentially be "the largest earthwork ever created in contemporary art." Learn more at Davidzwirner.com. Through December 21st.