James Welling “Geometric Abstraction” Exhibition at Regen Projects
Regen Projects is pleased to announce an exhibition of work by Los Angeles artist James Welling. This exhibition will present a selection from two recent bodies of work: Geometric Abstraction (2008) and Maison de Verre (2009). This pairing examines the dialogue between photographic representation and visual experience that is at the core of Welling’s work.
Geometric Abstraction extends the exploration Welling began in 1998 with his New Abstractions. The original 1998 prints were made from digital negatives of photograms created by laying long strips of paper onto 8×10 inch sheets of black and white photographic paper. A few of the digital negatives of the photograms were accidentally created as positives. In 2008, these accidental positives became the point of departure for the Geometric Abstractions. Using an array of colored filters placed in the color enlarger (a technique used in Flowers, 2004-08), Welling filled the white areas with intense swaths of color.
In 2009 Welling photographed the Maison de Verre in Paris, France. Designed in 1932 by Pierre Chareau as the medical and home office for a gynecologist, the Maison de Verre was considered an early twentieth-century architectural masterpiece. For Welling, despite its glass walls, the house is dark and somber, and the interior light is shadowed and opaque. Welling photographed the interiors of the house to intensify the existing light found on the first two floors. Using Photoshop Curves, Gradient Maps, and Hue and Saturation adjustments, Welling modified the color in the Maison de Verre to such an extent that he essentially created a new work of architecture on top of Chareau’s masterpiece.
James Welling engages the materials, production, and history of photography, into an interrogation of the nature of the medium. Welling creates photographs that are equally about vision, light, negative, and solid as they are about the depicted image and subject. Using an experimental approach to the medium of photography, Welling investigates a variety of formal and theoretical ideas about picture making. Appearance and illusion, the historical nature of cameras and of the photographic print, what we see or think we see in the act of perception, and how things are revealed photographically have long been at play in Welling’s work.
James Welling / Regen Projects II / 9016 Santa Monica Boulevard / Los Angeles / CA 9006
January 15, 2010