Works on Paper
Though predominantly known and celebrated for his monumental sculptures, Richard Serra’s works on paper are tremendously important to his practice. Serra explains, “drawing gives me an immediate return for my effort and the result is commensurate with my involvement. It is an activity that requires solitude, it is the most concentrated space in which I work.” The artist has created drawings as a separate and immediate meditation for the near entirety of his career. Serra’s drawings simultaneously function as unique works, as well as elementary line investigations into his sculptures. His gestural sweeps of paintstick and crayon are urgent and explorative, revealing something increasingly instinctive and intimate within the artist’s greater oeuvre.
Employing a breadth of innovative techniques, Serra evolves the very mediums of drawing and etching. In his drawing practice, the artist heats paintstick or oilstick to a viscous state in order to further direct his mediums onto handmade papers. Turning to his work in printmaking, Serra also reinvigorates the traditional etching medium by using deeply bitten plates in his conception of gestural forms. Throughout his career and to this day, the artist experiments with highly sophisticated screenprint and intaglio techniques with Gemini G.E.L, resulting in exquisite prints which demonstrate a deeper and more articulated relief.
Spanning the last two decades of the artist’s career, the work comprising Richard Serra: Works on Paper displays a unique realization of the kind of forms Serra has been most recently consumed by. With bold lines that curve, wind, and spin, Serra’s mark-making on paper evokes a similar excitement to his acclaimed sculptures. Other pieces abandon Serra’s major concern with curvature, instead boasting textural studies in etching ink and silica. Altogether, the artist’s works on paper present themselves as dense and confrontational while simultaneously remaining playful and experiential.