American artist James Welling (b. 1951) emerged as an important figure in the Pictures Generation, an influential group of artists working in New York in the 1980s, famous for their pioneering use of photography.
Welling tested the mechanical and technical parameters of photography, from making his own camera out of a shoebox to using a wide range of film and papers, or even making photographs without using cameras at all. This period of intense experimentation generated numerous collages, paintings, notes, and ephemera before culminating in a number of iconic series: minutely crumpled aluminium foil evoking starry skies or lunar landscapes; luxurious drapes sprinkled with dough, suggesting snow-capped mountain ridges; and abstract colour fields appearing as sun-drenched horizons. By focusing on simple, repetitive motifs, Welling sought to remove photography from its subject in order to trigger personal associations in the viewer and to explore how we see, rather than what we see.
This exhibition brings together a hundred and fifty of Welling’s early, experimental, and abstract works from this period and is presented in partnership with MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, UK, and Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.