David Zwirner Presents DOUG WHEELER, 2/6-3/29
David Zwirner is pleased to present a new installation by American artist Doug Wheeler (b. 1939) at our 537 West 20th Street location. This will be the gallery's second solo exhibition of the artist's work. Known for the seminal light environments that he developed in the 1960s and 70s, Wheeler will present a new type of installation that he calls "a rotational horizon work," which will occupy the ground floor gallery. Connected visually and conceptually to his previous works, this immersive environment will emphasize the viewer's physical experience of space, focusing attention on the way light almost imperceptibly changes along the horizon as the earth turns.
An avid flyer since childhood and an eventual pilot himself, Wheeler has long been fascinated by the illusory quality of landscape as glimpsed from the vantage point of an airplane. Approaching an ever-receding horizon, passengers are able to watch the terrain shift rapidly as though it were a stage set laid out flatly in front of them when, in actuality, their flight path traces out the contours of the globe. By mimicking the sensation of the earth's rotational pull and curvature, Wheeler alters the traditionally static viewing experience of a work of art, thereby destabilizing our innate sense of equilibrium and imparting the feeling of moving with the earth towards an unreachable horizon.
The exhibition will also include a "luminous point of view work" in an adjacent gallery. In this installation, two suspended fluorescing planes of light activate the space, subtly defining a situation that appears to be counter to the geography of the room itself. This work continues a perceptual exploration that has its origins in the artist's early canvas paintings from the 1960s.
Wheeler's first solo exhibitions were held at the Pasadena Art Museum (1968), Ace Gallery, Venice, California and Vancouver (1969), and Galerie Schmela, Düsseldorf (1970). His work was included in a number of important exhibitions, including Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Doug Wheeler (Tate Gallery, London, 1970); Rooms (The Institute for Art and Urban Resources at P.S.1, Long Island City, New York, 1976); Ambiente/Arte (37th Venice Biennale, 1976); The First Show: Paintings and Sculpture from Eight Collections 1940-1980 (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1983); and Sunshine and Noir: Art in LA 1960-1997, (Louisiana Museum, Denmark, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, and Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 1997-1998) among others. More recently, Wheeler's work was presented in Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated): Art from 1951 to the Present (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2004); Selections from the Collection of Helga and Walther Lauffs (Zwirner & Wirth/David Zwirner, 2008); Time & Place: Los Angeles 1957-1968 (Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2008-2009); Primary Atmospheres: Works from California 1960-1970 (David Zwirner, 2010); Phenomenal: Light, Space, Surface, a part of the Getty Research Institute'sPacific Standard Time initiative (Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 2012); and Light Show (Hayward Gallery, London, 2013). In April 2014, Wheeler will install a new environment at Palazzo Grassi in Venice.
Work by the artist is held in major museum collections, including the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Wheeler lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
On the occasion of the exhibition, David Zwirner will publish the first extensive monograph devoted to the artist's work. The publication will contain rare archival documentation as well as new scholarship on the artist by art historian Germano Celant.
Read "Into the Heart of Lightness" by Randy Kennedy in The New York Times (January 15, 2012) from the artist's first show at David Zwirner.
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