ROBERT IRWIN at PaceWildenstein

Robert Irwin, Red Drawing White Drawing Black Painting, 2009, Detail

The title of the new Robert Irwin installation, at the PaceWildenstein 22nd Street space through February 28, is Red Drawing White Drawing Black Painting. The huge warehouse space is divided by two massive temporary walls, forming two narrow rectangular spaces, and a third "empty" space in back. The first space greets the viewer with a wall of white flourescent light in a seemingly intuitive arrangement of diagonally placed right angles. As we move around the floating wall to enter the second space, there is a high gloss black "painting" placed on the end wall of the first space. The second space presents a similar flourescent arrangement in intense red, with a glossy black panel centered on the opposite wall. In addition to the black panels, the polished concrete floor of the space reflects the array of flourescent light causing the arrangement of shapes on the walls to continue onto the floor in reverse. The black panels are not large, but offer compressed glimpses in which the reflective light and space close the loop and contain themselves, and simultaneously, allow and encourage oblique and changing ponts of view. Compared with the stealth and subtlety of much of Irwin's earlier work, this piece at first might seem overly flashy (forgive the pun). But the flash is only in the medium; there's nothing tricky going on here. Irwin is offering the viewer a moment of pure sensation -- light, space, color, reflection, movement -- a heightened sense of one's own presence and perception -- a small chunk of consciousness, isolated and enlarged.