Irwin paused for a moment, lost in thought—this man who shuns metaphors and yet is so gifted by them: "It's like you're on a swing," he finally said, "and you swing way up to the top and for a split second you can see over the wall, you can see all that light, but you're already on your way back into the world. So you swing harder and you get a little higher and you see a little more, but back down into the world you go. To recognize something and then live there takes a tremendous conversion of your being. You don't just swing up there and say, "Oh, that's nice," and stay there, hanging in midair. Hanging in midair can be nice—I did it at the Whitney, I did it in the desert, for a moment with the dots. But the world always draws you back.

Ross Zurowski