Installation view of “Richard Serra: Reversals” at Gemini G.E.L. Courtesy Gemini G.E.L. and the artist.
While Richard Serra is primarily known for his large-scale, site-specific sculptures in steel, since 1972, the artist has collaborated with Gemini G.E.L. to produce over 250 works on paper. Serra brings a visceral sense of gravity, density, and magnitude to his work across media, and these works are no exception. Many of his collaborations with Gemini will be exhibited this month at the Los Angeles workshop and publisher in a show titled “Reversals,” which will feature 10 new Paintstik-on-paper works.
The works in the “Reversals” series are defined by their arrangement—two pieces of paper framed together, that have each been divided in two by dense black pigment. Each “Reversal” is heavily physical, containing layers and layers of a mixture made from silica and Paintstik—a type of crayon made up of a mixture of pigment, oil, and wax—on handmade paper. The works palpably display the effort exerted in their making. Serra offers a striking contrast between the weighty black sections that seem to almost absorb light and the white unpainted areas that appear to be floating.
Courtesy Gemini G.E.L.
Drawings and prints such as these are an important part of the artist’s process, especially in developing compositions for 2D and 3D works. He began using Paintstik in the mid-1970s and has continued to explore the medium as a partner to his steel sculptures, due to its ability to achieve rich texture and perceptual gravity. Despite the medium employed, Serra’s works consistently take on a foreboding yet majestic quality, foregrounding the power of pure form.