Artist James Welling has created beautiful and challenging photographs for over thirty-five years. Operating in the hybrid ground between painting and sculpture and traditional photography, he is a foremost photographic practitioner enthralled with the possibilities of the medium. Since the mid-1970s, Welling’s practice has unflaggingly shifted to address an impressive array of issues and ideas: personal and cultural memory, the tenets of realism and transparency, abstraction and representation, optics and description, and the material and chemical nature of photography. His program, in particular, helps refine our definition of a photograph while offering a meaningful new paradigm for contemporary art. Monograph is the most comprehensive survey to date of this singular artist. It witnesses Welling’s sustained relevance and enviable staying power in this field while simultaneously explicating the primary strands that permeate this artist’s seemingly disparate oeuvre over three decades.
James Welling: Monograph was organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum and curated by James Crump, former chief curator and curator of photography. The Hammer’s presentation was organized by Cynthia Burlingham, deputy director, curatorial affairs.
The exhibition received generous support from George Freeman, Kristin Rey and Michael Rubel, and The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Additional support has also been provided by Trish and Jan de Bont.