|Wegman blends photos, cards, more into intricate works
The Chicago Tribune: Section 4, p. 16
10 October 2008
William Wegman is known in Chicago almost exclusively for his long series of seriocomic photoworks on his famous Weimaraners. But beginning in the 1990s he began making collage paintings marked by another sort of high-spirited play, and these pieces make up the bulk of an exhibition at Russell Bowman Art Advisory.
The paintings work from vintage photographs, greeting cards and postcards, blending them into fantastic landscapes. The style of the found objects dictates Wegman's style, which extends and elaborates even as it remains true to its sources. Some of the larger pieces have almost as many twists and turns, exterior and interior, as a graphic by M.C. Escher, yet not one is tortured, and effects appear, in the main, natural.
The earliest piece on view, from 1997, is like an album in which elements of the postcards dictate forms out onto the page in gouache that are extensions (say, a shadow) or counterpoint (human figures). Thereafter, the postcards are arranged in horizontal rows and, soon enough, placed wherever Wegman wants the landscape he invents to plunge toward a distant vista.
The nine pieces not only show a winning spatial variety but also a larkiness that comes from engaging with different commercial styles.
- Alan G. Artner