James Welling's eleventh solo exhibition with Regen Projects opens in Los Angeles

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James Welling's eleventh solo exhibition with Regen Projects opens in Los Angeles
Installation view. Photo: Evan Bedford.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Regen Projects is presenting Iconographia, James Welling’s eleventh solo exhibition with the gallery.

For Iconographia Welling’s camera becomes a time machine, reanimating images of Greek and Roman busts. The exhibition debuts these Personae, as well as a selection of images from his Cento series. Welling has used the camera as a vehicle to “time travel” in previous bodies of work such as Diary/Landscape, Seascape, Wyeth, Buildings by H. H. Richardson, Glass House, and Maison de Verre, but rarely with the emotional intensity of this latest exhibition. The exhibition’s title, Iconographia, refers to a seventeenth-century portfolio of intaglio portraits made by Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck.

In the artist’s own words:

“While making Cento, my ongoing series of photographs of sculptures and artifacts from the ancient Mediterranean region, I discovered the celebrated Korai sculptures in Athens. I reanimated one, Kore 674, by inserting green eyes, borrowed from an Édouard Manet painting, into her stone face and by coloring her hair bright red. This first head became the template for the process wherein I made Personae. I source eyes, jewelry, and clothing from old master paintings and then do the hair and make-up as I wish. The individuals depicted in Personae are primarily Roman with a few persons from ancient Greece, Egypt, Syria, and North Africa.”

James Welling (b. 1951, Hartford, CT) studied Fine Art at Carnegie-Mellon University and Modern Dance at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his MFA degree from the California Institute of the Arts in 1974. Over the past 40 years he has lived in New York and Los Angeles, where he was a professor in the Department of Art and Area Head of Photography at the University of California Los Angeles from 1995 – 2016. Since 2012 he has been a Lecturer with the rank of Professor in the Visual Arts Program at the Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University.

Surveys of Welling’s work have been held at museums throughout the United States and Europe including Musée des Arts Contemporains, Hornu (2021); the George Eastman Museum, Rochester (2020); Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent (2017); Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (2016); Brandywine River Museum of Art, Chadds Ford (2015); Art Institute of Chicago (2014 – 2015); Fotomuseum Winterthur (2013 – 2014); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2013 – 2014); Cincinnati Art Museum (2013); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (2002); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2001); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus (2000); The Baltimore Museum of Art (2000); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (1998 – 1999); Kunstmuseum Luzern (1998); and Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo (1992).

Welling’s work has also been included in major museum exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2013, 2012); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2012 – 2013, 1988); Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford (2012); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2012, 2003 – 2004); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2009); the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2008); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2002, 1987); Kunsthalle Bern (1997, 1990); Denver Art Museum (1994); and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1987).

The artist has received awards including the Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award from Woodbury University, California (2016); the Infinity Award given by the International Center of Photography in New York (2014); and the DG Bank-Forder Prize in Photography from the Sprengel Museum, Hannover (1999).

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