artist / participant

press release

The Donald Young Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based photographer 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. For this exhibition Welling will present two new bodies of work, Flowers and Screens.

Both the Flowers and Screens are photograms, photographic images produced without the use of a camera. With the Flowers series, Welling placed Plumbago blossoms (a common plant found in Los Angeles) on a sheet of 8 x 10 film and made an exposure. These negatives were then projected onto Kodak Metallic Endura paper through a color mural enlarger and color filters to make the beautiful multicolored prints in the exhibition. The Flowers further develop a recent body of single color images employing two tones of color in a painterly fashion where hues of red, purple, or green transition beautifully into yellow and gold

The Screens likewise are photograms, but they were made without the use of a negative. With these unique works Welling, using the same mural enlarger, projected light through crumpled fiberglass window screens directly onto large sheets of the same paper. The Screens in this exhibition are in two sizes, the larger ones, which measure 61 x 97 inches, were made with a fine gauge screen which produced distinct abstracted forms and subtle moiré patterns in brilliant hues of red, yellow and orange. The smaller Screens , which measure 39 x 52 1/2 inches, were produced with a wider gauge screen thus creating abstracted, grid like patterns and smooth color transitions.

Welling's work has been exhibited internationally and is represented in many public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Welling was the subject of a mid-career retrospective at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, OH, in 2000 and traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. In 2002, there was a second mid-career retrospective, highlighting Welling's abstract and color photographs, at the Palais de Beaux Arts in Brussels, Belgium. His work is currently included in the exhibition Los Angeles, 1955-1985 at the Pompidou Center in Paris.


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James Welling