Sunday, March 11, 2012

Side Line

The setting is perfect for the display of Richard Serra's drawings and paintings at The Menil Collection. The works are in harmony with the white sharp lines of the building designed by Renzo Piano. The exhibition includes two rooms dedicated to smaller drawings. Sketches drawn on small pocketbooks during the artist's travels are on display behind a glass case in the hall. Material for his inspiration, they are a prelude to his bigger installations, paintings and sculptures. The visit progresses to larger textured drawings, shapes like volcano craters, dark dusty, drawn with paint sticks and wax, grease crayon. The display brings the visitor to the big paintings, laid against the walls from floor to the top of the high ceilings, creating a cathedral effect and redefining the space. His "Installation Drawings" of the mid-70's like Abstract Slavery, 1974 are menacing, flat black shapes. The black color accessory to the shape does not reflect the light. The color is not the subject but creates optical illusions, the walls and ceiling are not straight, the space is skewed and creates a dizzying effect. There is no story. This is it.

These works are the basis of the language of the artist, the material from which the sculptures are born. It should be the introduction to the exhibition which took place in 2007 at the MoMA Richard Serra: Forty Years.
"I had always an affair with drawing and a natural hand-eye coordination" is a modest statement from the artist.

...a low key exhibition of major proportions.

photographs were not allowed

photographs by the author at the East Wing, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. (2011)

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