Text by Germano Celant
Over five decades, Doug Wheeler has pioneered the art of light and space. His work powerfully explores the way we perceive “empty” space—the way light can affect our perception and make emptiness feel full and dense. From his early experiences flying across the desert with his father, a doctor in Globe, Arizona, Wheeler developed a passion for the intensity and stillness of vast expanses, seeing in them a whole new set of possibilities for visual art.
Although Wheeler began his career as a painter, his wall-mounted artworks soon began incorporating light as a medium and quickly gave way to an unprecedented art-historical breakthrough: his construction of an absolute light environment, crafted in his studio in 1967. Since that unparalleled moment, Wheeler’s work has been exhibited widely all over the world; in the past decade, with numerous major gallery and museum installations, his reputation as the definitive light and space artist has been solidified.
This volume, featuring new scholarship by renowned art historian Germano Celant, traces the entire course of Wheeler’s career to date, from his first mature paintings to his immersive installations. Writing on Wheeler’s intense and direct engagement with the absoluteness in the optical fields he creates, Celant provides a detailed account for Wheeler’s development as one of the most original and influential artists of his generation. Wheeler’s work not only changes how we encounter reality after we see it, but also how we envision what is possible more broadly in visual art.