artist / participant

press release

The Donald Young Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist James Welling. Since the late 70s and early 80s, Welling’s interest in the meaning and nature of photography has lead him to explore various subjects and photographic techniques that push the boundaries of the medium both technically and conceptually. In this exhibition Welling will present three bodies of work, Mystery Photographs, Degradé Photographs, and Tricolor Photographs, which use abstraction to continue his investigation of the formal qualities of photography.

With the Mystery Photographs, much like his breakthrough aluminum foil and drape photographs of the early 80s, Welling creates a beautifully abstracted photographic composition through the use of an otherwise recognizable material. In this recent series, Welling enlarges, morphs and blurs minute sections of a painter’s palette until the original image is a completely unrecognizable abstraction.

The Degradé Photographs further Welling’s ongoing interest in the literal translation of the word photography as “writing with light”. Through a process of exposing photographic paper to light, Welling creates richly saturated, beautifully colored abstractions. These photograms, as noted by critic Roslyn Deutsche, are a record of time, movement and light rather than a representation of an object.

In the third body of work, the Tricolor Photographs, Welling again manipulates the photographic process. Through the use of digital imaging software, Welling combines three black and white negatives of a single image, each shot respectively through red, blue or green filters, to create a three color, offset image. Subjects such as flower gardens and marshy swamplands are skewed and blurred through fields of intensified color.

Welling’s work is recognized and exhibited internationally and is represented in many public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany. His recent exhibition of abstract photographs organized by the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels travels to the Art Gallery of York University, Toronto in November.


only in german

James Welling ABSTRACT