Michael Heizer

28 September - 15 November 2003

New York

exhibition: Michael Heizer

dates: 28 September to 15 November 2003

This is the first installation in New York in almost a decade of works by Michael Heizer. The exhibition consists of three paintings (dating from 1967 and 1975), and a large stone sculpture from 1977, four rare works that explicate the structural analogies of his large-scale outdoor works: light and dark, positive and negative, presence and absence.

Eccentric Painting (1967/75), is among the first of Heizer's geometric paintings, a group of irregularly-shaped paintings that balance negative and positive repetitions of form and led directly into the first earthworks. The form of Eccentric Painting specifically influenced the structural facade of his first major desert architectural project, City Complex One (1972-74).

After creating some of his most ambitious earthworks, Heizer made a second group of paintings in the 70s, and from this group are shown two large irregularly shaped circular paintings. Both Untitled #2 (1975) and Untitled #9 (1975) explore in two dimensions the geometric and optical relationships at the core of his earthworks, specifically the void in Double Negative (1969-70). Both on circular canvas, a void in the center is represented by bare canvas or a dense application of aluminum powder, respectively. Cut away from the canvases are simple shapes whose measurements are determined by formulas found in the geometric framework of the canvas and the circular void. Heizer simplifies the dualism inherent in nature: space is activated by both presence and absence, the geometry that creates the form also subtracts from it.

The granite sculpture, 4 Part Circle / Quebec (1977), titled after the source of the stone, is a geometric arrangement of circles and their equivalent parts and a study of displacement and harmony that was later fully realized in his large-scale urban projects, This Equals That (1976-80) and Guenette (1978). The sculpture consists of a large circle surrounded by four smaller circles and their fragments that are its equivalent in area and weight. All the elements are arranged on sculptural base that refers as much to the tradition of the sculptural pedestal as it does to ancient altar arrangements.