In the painting Artists Including Me (2012), Wegman depicts a museum storage space with works from time periods and movements ranging from Medieval to Pop Art to the present, including one of the artist’s own Weimaraner Polaroid photographs. In his major four-panel postcard painting I Kandinsky (2012), the artist explores figuration and abstraction through vivid colors, lines, curves, and a planar composition, as if in an homage to Kandinsky. In Location Vacation (2011), the central figures are reproduced from adjacent vintage postcards, evoking a sense of world travel with references to popular destinations.
Present in Wegman’s work is a smart, gently subversive humor that adds a transformative dimension to what can first appear to be a simple visual statement. Curator Joan Simon has described the artist’s oeuvre:
"In his person and personas, Wegman is the artist who takes familiar things into new territories of context and meaning through relentless work, a good bit of dreaming, and some strange and contrarian reversals. […] He works between daily pragmatic realities and out-of-time reveries that come from the most unexpected places."
This summer, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art will also present William Wegman: Hello Nature, a major survey of over 100 Maine-inspired works by Wegman in various media. The exhibition will be on view from 13 July through 21 October 2012 and will be accompanied by an extensive illustrated catalogue Hello Nature: How to Draw, Paint, Cook and Find Your Way by William Wegman.
Born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1943, Wegman received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston and an MFA from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His work has been exhibited extensively both in the United States and abroad, including solo exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1982); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1988); Whitney Museum of American Art (1992); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2001); and The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2002). The traveling retrospective William Wegman: Funney/Strange was recently held at the Brooklyn Museum; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, FL; the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA; and Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH (2006-2007).