Galerie Marian Goodman, Paris
January 25–March 2, 2017
by Philippe Guillaume
An initial impression on entering James Welling’s exhibition in the large space of the Galerie Marian Goodman in Paris is that this is a group exhibition. There are several bodies of work, apparently disparate. However, relying on the knowledge that this is a solo exhibition by a single artist, James Welling, we might begin to consider that there is a James Welling, curator, “behind” James Welling, photographer.
This exhibition, aptly titled Chronology, presents a selection of work from Welling’s early days in the 1970s and from recent production. The artist’s principal interests lie in the area of photographic materiality and some of its attendant themes – colour, technologies, and abstraction – and to the social relations inherent in the production and circulation of photographs. The earliest works in the show, the group titled Polaroid (1976), are smaller in scale and more intimate than the later works, which are as diverse as Meridian (2014), a near-documentary depiction of a printing plant, and the series Chemical (2015–16), a boundary-blurring blend of painting and photography. Between these extremes would be New Flowers (2016), a series in which Welling emphasizes compositions composed of near-abstract and colourful layerings…
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