Doug Wheeler Lighting Exhibit At The David Zwirner Gallery In NYC

by Gary Fails | Apr 13, 2014

I am fortunate to have been able to view the exhibit of Doug Wheeler’s work at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York City recently.  Mr. Wheeler is a member of the “light and space” art movement and uses light in mysterious and beautiful ways.

Doug Wheeler

The exhibit was a large, white, circular room, with a round  floor maybe 50’ in diameter, and rising convexly in the center of the floor maybe 12” from edge to center.  The rest of the room is hard to describe since there were no visual clues to orient yourself.  The circular walls appeared an indeterminate distance away.  At first I thought they were within reach, but when I tried to touch them I realized there was no wall where I thought it was, and it was much further in the distance.  The ceiling was a dome of indeterminate height. 

The mood in the room was of the very top of an icy world where all that can be seen was the sky and the curvature of the earth.  The disorientation was startling and it was easy to forget that this was taking place in a building on a city street. 

The space was meditative, disorienting, and otherworldly.  Very subtle lighting changed slowly to alter the mood very slightly over a period of time, giving the space an ever greater disorientation.  The sources of the lighting were cleverly hidden from view and not distracting at all, and gave the impression of a sky over a curving horizon.   The forced perspective of the curved horizon was also disorienting and made the space seem much larger than it actually was. 

“Light and space” artists like Mr. Weaver and James Turrell manipulate our perception and consciousness, causing us to think carefully and to pay full attention to what we are seeing, in order to see things in new ways. 

Lighting exhibits of this type and scale are rare.  Don't miss the chance to see them!  The exhibit at the David Zwirner Gallery was free.  The experience was priceless.