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Richard Serra: Selected Prints
May 8, 2021 @ 10:30 am - 5:30 pm
Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present Projects, a new venue designed to display artworks outside the scope of the gallery’s program. Through collaborations with private dealers and galleries in New York City and beyond, Projects will exhibit blue-chip, contemporary masters and site-specific installations. The aim is to diversify the art landscape and conversation, presenting collectors and the community with alternative engaging experiences and acquisition opportunities.
Projects will debut with an exhibition of selected prints by Richard Serra. In collaboration with master printers Gemini G.E.L., the exhibition will include monochromatic works from different series executed in the last 15 years. Serra’s explorations with printmaking have been an extension of the artist’s practice of working in monumentally-scaled sculpture. Since 1972, he has been working with Gemini to create and invent new techniques in the medium, leading to a varied output of complexly surfaced prints.
“The prints are,” Serra has said, “studies made after a sculpture has been completed. They are the result of trying to assess and define what surprises me in a sculpture, what I could not understand before a work was built. They enable me to understand different aspects of perception as well as the structural potential of a given sculpture. I have always thought that if I could draw something, I would have a structural comprehension of it. I do not draw to depict, illustrate or diagram existing works. The shapes originate in a glimpse of a volume, a detail, an edge, a weight. Drawing in that sense amounts to an index of structures I have built.”
On view are four of his most recent “Composite series,” the result of a masterful application of varying printing techniques and materials. Japanese handmade paper is first inked on a deeply-etched copper plate, followed by a layer of opaque Paintstik being pushed through a coarse silkscreen. This exploration of texture and saturation with varying densities and depths renders a more viscous surface which is a departure from Serra’s earlier series. Although maintaining the all-black pigment Serra favors, these works are subtle, revealing nuanced and unexpected tonal variations not immediately apparent at first glance.
“Horizontal Reversals” is another series using Paintstik and Japanese hand-made paper, except in this instance the artist combines silica to explore different aspects of elevation. Each edition in the series is assembled using different combinations of sheets compositionally reversing themselves. The equally sized sheets of Kozo paper come together as one work (the size of the black inked area on one side is the same as the opposite panel’s white area and vice-versa.) They result in an interplay between blank paper and heavy oily black surfaces, the type of spatial and mass tensions found in Serra’s sculpture.
Other prints evoking the artist’s sculptures are “Paths and Edges”, sections of rings that seemingly rotate off the page. These energetic forms reference the physicality and sense of balance the viewer experiences when encountering and interacting Serra’s Corten Steel structures. The sculptures seem to go ad infinitum and are only possible to see in their entirety from great heights. The etchings in this series were completed when Serra was preparing and installing site-specific massive sculptures for his MoMA retrospective in 2007. For the artist, the prints were a response to the temporal and spatial understanding of his torqued sculptures. In the same way, the Junctions series are related to the sculptures Serra exhibited at Gagosian Gallery in New York in 2011.
Back in 1999 Serra created a “Torqued Ellipse” series, more gestural expressions intended to activate the viewer’s perception of movement and orientation. The plates of these prints are deeply etched, evoking more expressive and splattered mark-making. As part of his process, Serra edits his massive series of plates, and inexplicably one of these plates went underprinted. Eighteen years later, Gemini’s master printmaker, Xavier Fumat, re-discovered the un-proofed plate and approached the artist to create this image, and thus the print was “Finally Finished.”
Among other prints in the exhibition is the Still from ‘Hand Catching Lead’, based on his first film created in 1968. The image involves the artist’s hand trying to catch and shape morsels of lead dropping from the top off the frame. Lead was the material of choice for the Serra in the 1960s and 70s.
Serra is one of the most important and audacious sculptors of our time, creating gargantuan steel forms requiring wide open spaces. His prints are an alternative form of expression that for him are distillations of his sculptures and because of their limited output are highly sought after by collectors.
The public is invited to attend an Open House on Saturday, May 8th, 1-5pm.
Projects is located on 78 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT.