Monday, May 21, 2012

Richard Serra


Richard Serra, out-of-round X, 1999, paintstick on handmade Hiromi paper. Collection of the artist.
Richard Serra © 2010 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

I wrote about Richard Serra at ModernHouston.net in April 2012.

I was quite stunned by the Richard Serra drawings at the Menil Collection. A retrospective show about Serra and the main focus was drawings, but I guess this really makes a lot of sense. Can you imagine a sculpture retrospective of Serra's art; it would cost a fortune to install. But it comes down to what Serra is really doing in his work, and that is simple line and shapes on a grand scale.

This show takes me back to an exhibition at Menil Collection of Eva Hesse’s drawings, sketches, and a few sculptures. The process of the artist was laid bare for the visitor to see. I feel this show of Serra’s is equally as soulful in showing his method, but also another side of his work that gets overshadowed by his huge sculptures. The PBS show Art 21 has a great interview of his process where he makes these very simple drawings and turns them into the amazing sculptures that you will find in many urban areas. Of course, the drawings are minimal like his sculptures, but some works leave a mess of marks left over. These marks remind me of the spots and specks made from the sparks from a welder’s torch. The action is recorded on sides of the drawing like a dark star exploding..

The scale of these works is not surprising. After all the Serra is famous for his bigger than life sculptures that seem to match the size of ship hulls. Like a Rothko painting, I see myself walking right into the art and getting lost in the quiet spaces he creates. With lots of black and grey the show comes off very serious and contemplative..

I understand this show was at the Metropolitan, so I am glad I didn’t have to fly to New York earlier this year just to see the exhibition. I must say that my eyes were open to a different side of Richard Serra’s work. I am also glad to know that Barry Whistler Gallery in Dallas has some of his drawings on display as well. I will be dropping by this weekend to take a look. The retrospective show at Menil Collection will be up until June 10th..

To see more images of the show visit ModernHouston.net.

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