William Wegman

Paintings
5 March - 12 April 2003
Sperone Westwater, New York
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Press release

Sperone Westwater is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by William Wegman. For his first exhibition of paintings in a decade, the artist will feature two large- scale oil on panel works (each measures approximately eight by sixteen feet and seven by twelve feet respectively), six smaller paintings on panel and a number of collage works on paper. For this group, Wegman uses found postcards from his extensive collection to generate his own painted landscapes. He enhances and embellishes a detail from one card which connects to the next, weaving in and out of each found image into the painted landscape.

 

Wegman starts each large painting with two postcards mounted on the panel. He then connects the two through a similar detail such as a photographic image of a road. This connection then dictates the next card that is chosen. In the largest panel piece, the artist seamlessly juxtaposes exterior landscapes with interior views, constructing a borderless landscape. A Parisian café seems perfectly in place on the bank of a country brook and roads intertwine and connect disparate scenes to create an idealized world. The artist draws the viewer into the landscape through the work’s expansive scale yet intimate detail. One is lost in the idiosyncratic details as one is mesmerized by the overall unity.

 

The second large panel piece focuses primarily on vintage postcards from distinct periods and places, evoking within the viewer a sense of nostalgia reminiscent of past summer cross-country road trips. Each card is fragmented with a graphic division (often yellow) that connects the cards as they fall into a grid. Rather than an idealized landscape, Wegman creates a scrapbook of imaginary travel and memories. As Peter Schjeldahl reveals about Wegman’s painted world, “This is the cosmos of the serious child, who daydreams to lay hold of a reality conceived to be stable and ultimately accessible.”

 

This project of incorporating postcards into paintings began with the artist’s works on paper and it is here that Wegman takes the most dramatic leaps between the painted image and the card, emphasizing invention over connection; the top of tree becomes the head of a large duck, a rock transforms into a dog’s paw or a boulder becomes a man’s hat, thus rewarding the viewer with so many souvenirs.

 

For more information or photographs, please contact Elizabeth Blackburn at Sperone Westwater at (212) 999-7337, or info@speronewestwater.com.

Artists in this Exhibition