Things Beyond Resemblance: James Welling Photographs
Text by Philipp Kaiser
This generously illustrated book examines a series of color photographs by Los Angeles–based artist James Welling, who turned to the painter Andrew Wyeth for inspiration.
As a conceptual artist who is deeply interested in the genesis of representation, Welling began this series of photographs as an examination of Andrew Wyeth’s influence on his own work, from Welling’s earliest watercolors in the 1960s through his recent photographs. Shot on location in Pennsylvania and Maine—in the same areas where Wyeth painted throughout his life—this major series includes photographs from 2010 through 2014. In addition to including never-before-seen works from the completed Wyeth series, the book explores the mechanisms of influence of one artist upon another—even across media—ranging from subconscious borrowings to more direct appropriations. Using color photography, Welling evokes Wyeth’s aesthetic, particularly the importance of place in his work. Paying homage to Wyeth’s practice of manipulating subject matter in his seemingly realistic paintings, Welling digitally altered his photographs in subtle ways. This book provides a fascinating look at a major new series by a leading contemporary artist, and allows for fresh and insightful connections to Andrew Wyeth.
Artists: James Welling
Contributors: Philipp Kaiser
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 9 3/4 x 10 1/2 in (24.8 x 26.7 cm)
Reproductions: 116 color
Retail: $39.95 US & Canada | £24.99
James Welling has been questioning the norms of representation since the 1970s. His work centers on an exploration of photography, shuffling the elemental components of the medium to produce a distinctly uncompromising body of work. Welling is also intensely interested in cultural and personal ideas of memory in his work. In opening up the medium of photography for experimentation, James Welling’s practice has influenced an entire generation of artists and photographers.
Philipp Kaiser has been Director of the Museum Ludwig in Cologne and curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. From 2001 through 2007 he was Curator at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel. He has written numerous contributions on contemporary art and has curated solo-exhibitions with Louise Lawler, Johanna Billing, Christian Philipp Müller, Simon Starling, Amelie von Wulffen, Sterling Ruby amongst others but also large-scale thematic exhibitions like Flashback – Revisiting the Art of the 80s and Index – California Conceptualism. He is currently working on the first American retrospective of Jack Goldstein.