In 2010, Los Angeles-based artist James Welling (b. 1951) initiated a series of color photographs inspired by the painter Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009).
Welling began the Wyeth series as an examination of Andrew Wyeth’s formative influence on Welling’s career, from his earliest watercolors in the 1960s through his recent photographs.
I realized I had never stopped thinking about Wyeth,” Welling wrote, “he had become a part of how I see.
Shot on location in Pennsylvania and Maine—in the same areas where Wyeth painted throughout his life—this major series includes new work created specifically for the exhibition.
In addition to debuting 50 works from the completed Wyeth series, the exhibition will explore 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 as the photographer treads in the painter’s footsteps at the Kuerner Farm and other iconic sites in Chadds Ford. Paying homage to Wyeth’s practice of altering reality in his seemingly realistic paintings, Welling digitally manipulates his photographs in subtle ways. This exhibition, organized by the Brandywine River Museum of Art and guest curator Philipp Kaiser, will provide a fascinating look at the work of a leading contemporary artist and allow for fresh and insightful connections to Andrew Wyeth. The exhibition's accompanying catalogue includes an interview with Welling by Kaiser, and essays by Michael Fried, Suzanne Hudson and Sharon Lockhart.
On the occasion of this exhibition, the Brandywine River Museum of Art has commissioned James Welling to create a site-specific installation on the grounds of the Museum and its historic properties. Gradients will be a series of works that explores the intersection of photography and sculpture, and references and distills the color of the various locales in which they are installed.Gradients will run concurrently with Things Beyond Resemblance, extending the visitor's experience of Welling's work beyond the walls of the Museum.
The exhibition is supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The planning of this exhibition has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.