Though he came of age with the Pictures Generation, photographer James Welling has long concerned himself with the formal and expressive properties of photographs as well as their ability to critically comment on our image-saturated world. His interests have included architecture, landscape and the history of modernism, as witnessed in projects such as his recent show at the Brandywine River Museum of Art, which focused on the environment of painter Andrew Wyeth. (He also debuted “Gradient” sculptures on the museum’s lush grounds.) This show of 20 new large-scale ink-jet prints sees the artist returning to the subject of dance, which he studied before matriculating at CalArts. The works layer images of dancers from different companies with elements of buildings by architects like Marcel Breuer, as well as open fields. He ran the black-and-white pictures through colored Photoshop filters, creating dazzling photographs that evoke double processing.
Pictured: James Welling: 9485, 2014, ink-jet print, approx. 41¾ by 63¾ inches. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York and London.
“Overflow” presents three distinct photo-based series, all part of Welling’s ongoing exploration of photography’s relationship with painting. Select photogram’s from the 2010 book Frolic Architecture were created by painting and folding a sheet of clear Mylar and then contact-printing it on photographic paper; for “Fluid Dynamics,” the artist exposed wet photographic paper to light, processed and scanned the results, and then digitally manipulated the hues; and “Wyeth” documents Welling’s recent trips to Maine and Pennsylvania to study the subjects and places painted by Andrew Wyeth, one of his earliest artistic influences.