William Stobb

         At the same time huge new planes were being built. I required more

activity in the post-nuclear age. I bought the land. I'd found sands and gravels
that could make concrete, clay that could be used for soil cement, running

                                          As my ideas developed I defied gravity without trying.
We make big things out of little things—obviously pointed at the future. All it is
is absence. You can visualize the voids combining—if you can, then you

                    Things felt uniquely American in size and measurement.

                                                                                                           I didn't know much
about the East and I didn't like what I saw. It looked like it was degenerating—I
didn't want to make more objects. I was interested in the absence of objects.

                            I had built something as big as a building, greater in length than
the height of the Empire State Building.

                                        Size is real. Scale is imagined size.

                                                                                                   You don't have to design   
30-, 52-, 68-ton rocks. Mass in exchange for surfaced, detailed, studied works—
primitive traditions—these and their opposites.

Tame something wild to complete the cycle.                A rough wild rock might fall
at the base of a cliff.                                                     Articulate that.

                                                                                                 We found the rock water-
shot, evidence of its source directly above. The cuts were kept active. The source
which is the enclosure, becomes false and quite arbitrary.

                              Physical truth is isolation of material from source.

                                                                                            The only way out is to create
objects that float. It can be appropriate to leave traces, and you have to put them

and forms of evidence interest me more—beautiful gravel, broken processional.
The size of a spirit remembered in land.

                                                                              It wasn't big enough. I kept working.







Note: these words are adapted from Julia Brown's interview with the artist, Michael Heizer, published in Sculpture in Reverse (Museum of Contemporary Art, 1984).





Living in Nevada, in visible, geological time, expanded my sense of life's scale, and opened up new poetries to me. For me, Michael Heizer's art and language react powerfully with a desert sense of time—space: huge, graceful gestures, slowly (or rapidly, maybe) decomposing under the sun, dwarfed by the geology they're made of. You should look into his work. Sculpture in Reverse is a good place to start, if you can find a copy, or [this website], which includes good, detailed directions to the site of his amazing, accessible work, "Double Negative."