Richard Serra: Horizontal Reversals

Gemini G.E.L.
Apr 28, 2017 7:57PM

Gemini G.E.L. is pleased to present ten new Paintstik editions by Richard Serra. Horizontal Reversals is currently on view in Los Angeles through June 30.

Richard Serra began working at Gemini G.E.L. in 1972, his first editions carried out in traditional lithography. Spanning 45 years, Serra’s approach to printmaking materials has evolved, deriving from an interest in illustrating the properties of weight, balance, density, mass and formal compositional tension while seeking new possibilities for his printmaking endeavors.

The Reversals series explore the dynamic relationship between of two sheets of paper and their abstract compositions. In each work, the black and cream regions reverse themselves from left to right in a reciprocal manner. The area that is maintained as bare paper on the left panel is echoed with black material on the right panel, and the area that is covered in black material on the left panel is mirrored by bare paper on the right. This proportional “reversal” composition explores not only a physical balance between light and dark, but also a cognitive perception of form. Further, when the different works are seen together in combinations of two, three or more, the assembled groups challenge the static definition of a formal series. Several pieces together highlight a “yin and yang” effect, proposing that multiple prints play a more interactive role, resolving the conflict of weight and balance through composition.  

Horizontal Reversals are comprised of two identically sized pieces of Igarashi-Hiromi Kozo paper, which abut in the custom designed platform frame to create the final image. To produce these unique pieces, Paintstik bars were ground down in a meat grinder and blended in an industrial grade Hobart dough mixer with silica that had been sifted by hand to a certain particle size. This mixture was then applied directly to the handmade paper, which was previously sealed by a layer of urethane with a brayer. Gemini’s Master Printer then applied the Paintstik and silica mixture with a gloved hand, pushing and rubbing in a downward direction against a torn mask made of Rives BFK paper. The second layer that is applied by hand is where the final texture is achieved. The mask serves to separate the blocks of Paintstik and raw paper, while at the same time also defining and marrying the location where the material meets raw fiber, making a soft, irregular edge.

Born in San Francisco, California in 1939, Richard Serra is one the most significant artists of the 21st century. He has exhibited extensively in major museums and has created site-specific sculptures for both public and private venues across the world. Serra’s work has been the subject of two retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, the first in 1986 and the second in 2007. Other major recent exhibitions include the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain (1999); American Academy in Rome, Italy (2000); Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri (2003, 2014); Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Italy (2004); “Richard Serra Drawings—Work Comes Out of Work,” Kunsthaus Bregenz (2008); “Promenade,” Monumenta, Grand Palais, Paris (2008); “Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective,” Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2011, traveled to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; and The Menil were installed as part of the inaugural exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. East-West/West-East (2014) was permanently installed in the desert of the Brouq Nature Reserve in western Qatar in 2014. Serra has participated in dOCUMENTA in 1972, 1977, 1982, and 1987; and in the Biennale di Venezia in 1980, 1984, 2001, and 2013. In 2015, Serra was awarded Les Insignes de Chevalier de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur, France.  Serra lives and works in New York and Nova Scotia, Canada.  

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Gemini G.E.L.