26 January - 2 March 1997
Art critic Peter Schjeldahl has written, “While looking at Sol LeWitt wall drawings, you can hear your blood pressure drop.” In January, Rice University Art Gallery will present Houston’s first overview of recent work by the internationally acclaimed artist that will include newly commissioned, large-scale wall drawings and several sculptures. The works will be on view from 27 January through 13 April 1997. From 27 January - 2 March 1997, the Farish Gallery at the Rice University School of Architecture will present selections from LeWitt’s recent series of sculptures,Complex Forms. These works retain the intelligent elegance of LeWitt’s pioneering conceptual works of the 1960s, but are imbued with a powerful visual energy that may surprise some viewers. “The exhibition will be a unique opportunity for visitors to observe first-hand LeWitt’s response to a specific architectural space. Houstonians are fortunate to be able to experience the visual power generated by one of our most important comtemporary artists,” says gallery director Kimberly Davenport.
The Rice Gallery wall drawing, applied directly on the gallery walls with the assistance of Rice students, will be a temporary manifestation of an idea: the manifestation of a set of written instructions that LeWitt created in response to the architecture of the gallery. These instructions can be compared to a musical score, with LeWitt as the composer and the Rice students (working under the supervision of LeWitt’s assistants) as the musicians who give the artist’s idea a temporary form. Once the exhibition closes the drawing will be painted over, but it can be recreated at another time or place just as a musical score can be performed over and over again by different musicians.
The serene, geometrical shapes used in the wall drawing will be echoed in sculptures LeWitt has designed for the exhibition—spare, elegant works created from such humble materials as Styrofoam and cinder blocks.
The Architecture School’s Farish Gallery will feature a selection of LeWitt’s Complex Forms. The changing natural light of this gallery is ideally suited to the shifting geometric planes of these recent works, that have been compared to the figural groupings in the paintings of Renaissance master Piero della Francesca.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Sol LeWitt was born in 1928 in Hartford, Connecticut. A leading figure in the development of conceptual art, LeWitt has created a vibrant body of work over the past several decades. LeWitt’s work has been collected by major museums around the world; he recently represented the United States in the 1996 Sao Paulo Bienal in Brazil.