Opening reception November 8, 6 – 8pm
Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl is pleased to present Richard Serra: Bight & Ballast, an exhibition
of the artist’s most recent series of small-scale etchings.
In November 2010, Richard Serra began his most recent collaboration with
Gemini G.E.L. on two series of prints – Bight and Ballast. Work began first on
the solid, weighted Ballast images, and from his New York studio, Serra
provided specifications for the imagery. Several forms in different sizes and
proportions were considered, and ultimately four were selected. One, later
titled Riser, was set aside as a special edition to be offered by the Metropolitan
Museum during the artist’s drawing retrospective in the spring of 2011. Once
the scale and formal aspects of all four prints were resolved, the rough texture –
created from a rubbing of the stucco wall outside the Gemini workshop – was
etched into the copper plate, and the editioning was intended to begin in
Quickly, however, a large number of Mylars arrived at the workshop, loaded
with sticky Paintstik drawings intended for the making of the Bight images.
Comprised of direct gravures each measuring 27 x 22 inches, the Bight prints feature dynamic variations of
helix-shaped lines which virtually spin out of control. Serra wanted the lines to be as deeply black as possible,
yet he wished to preserve the light, lyrical nature of the surrounding areas in the imagery. Considerable
experimentation and proofing was undertaken by Master Printer Xavier Fumat and his assistants in the
workshop. Culling it down from over 25 images, ultimately nine were approved.
Bight and Ballast continue the artist's two-dimensional examination of mass and
weight in a small scale, with highly textured and saturated surfaces that have
come to define Richard Serra's print work. Serra has been making prints at
Gemini G.E.L. in Los Angeles for almost forty years. Known for his
monumental steel sculptures, Serra has increasingly worked in a larger scale as a
printmaker, yet after completing some of his largest prints ever at Gemini (the
2008-2010 Weights and Levels), the artist chose to revisit printmaking on a
relatively small-scale. Indeed, complimenting the exhibition of these two new
series will be a selection from a prior series called Junction. These etchings,
dating from 2010, each measure 16 x 18 inches and feature variations of deep
and intimate "X" markings.
Richard Serra was born November 2, 1939, in San Francisco. In 2007, the Museum of Modern Art in New
York presented a Serra career retrospective, which was the museum's largest-ever sculpture exhibition to date.
In 2011, the Metropolitan Museum of Art mounted the first survey of Serra's drawings at an American
museum, and an expanded version of that survey is currently on view at the San Francisco Museum of
Modern Art, through January 16, 2012. Serra continues to produce large-scale sculptures for sites both in the
United States and abroad. Two of his most recent large scale works, Junction and Cycle, are on view at the
Gagosian Gallery on 555 West 24th Street from September 14 through November 26.