from the gallery...
Following our exhibitions of photo pieces, Polaroids and drawings by William Wegman (*1943) in the years 1995, 1997, 2004, 2007 and 2009, Galerie Bugdahn und Kaimer now presents a series of new coloured photographic works by this American, New York-based conceptual artist who is equally at home in the media of painting, drawing, video, film and photography.
The eighteen photographs shown in the exhibition are pigment prints. Sizes are from 17 x 22 inches / 43 x 56 cm to 36 x 44 inches / 91 x 112 cm and each is made in an edition of fifthteen. They were taken between 2005 and 2010 and showing the Weimaraner dogs in front, behind, on and between coloured plexiglass in various combinations.
William Wegman wrote the following about the ‘plexi work’: “Some of you may be curious as to how I create the plexiglass photo works with the dogs. Interestingly, I do not use Photoshop. Everything you see in the photographs is what I see when I stage the photos. The dogs appear and reappear reflected in the transparent, translucent and mirrored surfaces. Lately I have enjoyed working with the dogs as dogs, unadorned, but modulating the space moody, tranquil ways. Soon I will tire of this and move onto something else ... with wigs, dresses and high heeled shoes. Hey, how about big pants and galoshes? I will need to find a narrative”.
Wegman’s name is linked inseparably with his photographs of Weimaraner dogs. He first became known for cryptically ironic photographic and video works (with and without dogs); but in the 1970s he attained world renown when he discovered the talents of his first Weimaraner dog, Man Ray, as a gifted model and an ideal interpreter of human idiosyncrasies.
In 1979, the Polaroid Corporation invited the artist to work with a newly developed camera, the now legendary Polaroid 24 x 20 inches (60 x 50 cm). Sceptical at first, Wegman familiarised himself with the enormous instrument, as he put it, and soon found himself enthusing over the unusual picture scale. The outcome was a remarkable oeuvre of singularly sharp, large-scale photographs, each a unique piece, as only this Polaroid camera – one of only three in existence worldwide – can produce.
In 1981, Man Ray died. Only in 1986 was he succeeded by Fay Ray, a born dog diva with no less flair. Fay opened the door to altogether new motifs. She could move gracefully, assume different positions and poses, arch her neck, turn her head round, cross her legs. She liked to impress him, Wegman says. Meanwhile the sixth generation of her offspring pose in front of the camera.
William Wegman is a master in his handling of the photographic medium, versed in generating from the interplay with his dogs one new, startling pictorial idea after the other, sublime in quality and originality. Many of his photographs have the air of paintings and recall subtle still life compositions and film sequences. Apart from which his Weimaraners remain unsurpassed in beauty, expressive power and elegance.
Photographs by Wegman can be seen in exhibitions in museums and international galleries the world over and have entered all the larger collections. Numerous retrospectives have been devoted to his work, touring the U.S. to stop at many venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and beyond, in Japan, Korea, China and Europe.
Besides film segments regularly featured since 1989 in Sesame Street,Wegman has also made films and videos for such programmes asSaturday Night Live and Nickelodeon. His film, The Hardly Boys in Hardly Gold, was shown to great acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival.
Today William Wegman and his Weimaraners are amongst the most popular figures on the international art and media scene.
We cordially invite you to the Private View of the exhibition and look forward to seeing you!
The Private View is on Friday, April 1, 2011, 6 pm – 10 pm. Exhibition to May 21, 2011.
The Gallery is open Tuesday – Friday 12 noon – 6 pm, Saturday 12 noon – 4 pm; and by appointment.
Last week, we posted a video of William Wegman's 1982 appearance on David Letterman. It can be viewed here.
I was on the way to the green room with Man Ray some moments before our scheduled appearance on the show. Man Ray was quite old and I was quite young. Almost to the green room I was quite startled when Man Ray's leash was grabbed out of my hand by some guy. "Kate needs a hook! Kate needs a hook!" Kate Jackson of Charlie's Angels fame swooped in and snuggled up to my dog as video was taken. Then they rushed off and I picked up the leash and went to the green room.
Skowhegan, as the website says, is a nine week summer residency for emerging visual artists. It was founded in 1946, three years after I was born. The town of Skowhegan is in the middle of Maine (if you don't count the northern part where the potatoes are).
Potato Harvest, Aroostook County, Maine. Image via Card Cow.