As a pioneer of the so-called “Light and Space” movement that flourished in Southern California in the 1960s and 1970s, Doug Wheeler’s prolific and ground-breaking body of work encompasses drawing, painting, and installations that are characterized by a singular experimentation with the perception and experience of space, volume, and light. Raised in the high desert of Arizona, Wheeler began his career as a painter in the early 1960s while studying at the Chouinard Art Institute (now the California Institute of the Arts) in Los Angeles. According to critic and curator John Coplans, Wheeler’s “primary aim as [an artist] is to reshape or change the spectator’s perception of the seen world. In short, [his] medium is not light or new materials or technology, but perception.” 1Read More
Wheeler’s first solo exhibitions were held at the Pasadena Art Museum, 1968, Ace Gallery, Venice, California and Vancouver, 1969, Galerie Schmela, Düsseldorf, 1970, and Galleria Salvatore Ala, Milan, 1975. His work was included in a number of important exhibitions, including Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Doug Wheeler, Tate Gallery, London, 1970; Rooms, The Institute for Art and Urban Resources at P.S.1, Long Island City, New York, 1976; Ambiente/Arte, 37th Venice Biennale (1976); The First Show: Paintings and Sculpture from Eight Collections 1940–1980, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1983; and Sunshine and Noir: Art in LA 1960-1997, Louisiana Museum, Denmark, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, and Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 1997–1998; Percepciones en transformación: La Colección Panza del Museo Guggenheim Bilbao (Changing Perceptions: The Panza Collection at the Guggenheim Museum), Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, 2000–2001, among others. More recently, Wheeler’s work was presented in Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated): Art from 1951 to the Present, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2004; Selections from the Collection of Helga and Walther Lauffs, Zwirner & Wirth/David Zwirner, 2008; Time & Place: Los Angeles 1957-1968, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2008-2009; Primary Atmospheres: Works from California 1960-1970, David Zwirner, 2010; Phenomenal: Light, Space, Surface, a part of the Getty Research Institute’s Pacific Standard Time initiative, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 2012; and Light Show, Hayward Gallery, London, 2013. In April 2014, Wheeler presented a new environment at Palazzo Grassi in Venice, on view through the end of the year; and in November, he will be included in the group exhibition Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
Work by the artist is held in major museum collections, including the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Wheeler lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
David Zwirner has represented the work of Doug Wheeler since 2011. He has had two solo exhibitions with the gallery, in 2012 and 2014.
1 John Coplans, Doug Wheeler. Exh. bro. (Pasadena, California: Pasadena Art Museum, 1968), n.p.
Text courtesy David Zwirner.
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