Stainless Steel Sculptures Press Release
November 9, 2000—January 6, 2001
Opening on November 9, the gallery will present recent sculptures by John McCracken. The artist will be showing for the first time at Zwirner & Wirth after exhibiting at David Zwirner in 1997, and Hauser & Wirth in 1999. John McCracken, who lives and works in Medanales, New Mexico, has been a presence in New York steadily since the mid 1960s. During the last two years he has shown his work in London, Zurich, Paris and Los Angeles. His work is currently included in Open Ends at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
At the same time that Minimalist artists such as Carl Andre, Donald Judd, and Dan Flavin were gaining ground with their new abstract work in New York, McCracken was experimenting in Los Angeles with a similar vernacular. McCracken, who started his career as a painter, soon left the constraints of the picture frame towards a more three-dimensional understanding of painting. In particular, his signature work, the plank, literally defines the space between painting and sculpture, the floor and the wall. With his simple gesture of leaning a monochromatic, rectangular resin plank so it rests on the floor and wall, he created a definitive work following the primary concerns of Minimalism: the desire to leave the two dimensionality of the picture plane for a new art that references and includes both architecture and the viewer.
McCracken continued to expand his vocabulary creating works he called "columns, slabs, blocks, basic beautiful forms, neutral forms" which he made through a process of woodworking resin application and finishing. The monochromatic surfaces were sanded and polished to such a degree of reflectiveness that they appear translucent, creating works of a paradox nature. Their presence is both physical and immaterial.
McCracken's work references the man made world–"while the natural world is full of miracles I think of my work as not especially relating to natural forms but to man made forms and to what man made forms might become. I see them as sort of prototypes, as possibilities for the future."
For the current exhibition John McCracken has created an entirely new body of work using, for the first time, stainless steel exclusively. These works, a group of 8 foot high columns both triangular and rectangular, have surfaces that are highly polished. Installed in the gallery, they reconfigure the space as their elusive surfaces reflect each other; the architecture, as well as the viewer. These monolithic columns are McCracken's most precise works to date and furthers the central concern of his art: to make work that is pure abstract form to mirror the most ephemeral of all abstractions, that of pure thought.