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JAMES WELLING | ABSTRACT PHOTOGRAPHY
August 21st 2019
Postmodern artist James Welling seeks to contest the practice of photography as a means of representation. The abstract nature is not what you see in average photographs. His work would perhaps lend itself more appropriately to the mediums of screen printing, painting or even sculpture. Nevertheless, Welling is one the forefront in exploring the opportunities that photography offers as an artistic process; So much so that The New York Times named him as one of today’s most influential photographers.
by Henrik Riis
NEWS FROM EYESTORM
Welling was born in 1951 in Connecticut, United States; a one-hour journey by train, North-East of New York City. He started with studying drawing as a young teenager and continued to learn under Gandy Brodie, a second-generation Abstract Expressionist who introduced him to the works of such extraordinary artists as Matisse, Klee and Rothko. From then on, his interest in fine art was ignited.

He began to experiment with Super 8 films, sculpture and paintings - and it was at this time that he became interested in using photography as a medium for his art. In the following years, Welling began to create and develop his own black and white photographs, as well as research with Polaroid film; employing techniques such as making long exposures with a shutter less camera and heating prints during processing in order to intensify the colours. Not surprisingly, in this deepening process he more or less left other mediums behind and focused solely on photography as a means of expressing his art.
JAMES WELLING
31 (1998), 1999

Edition of 100
28(w) x 35(h) cm
11.02(w) x 13.78(h) inches
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James Welling (American, b. 1951)

31 (1998) , 1999

28(w) x 35(h) cm
11.02(w) x 13.78(h) inches
Silver gelatin print

Initialised and numbered on verso.
Edition of 100
PRICE
$ 830.00
MAKE AN OFFER
Find art trends here >
In 1978 Welling moved to New York and continued his experimentation with the medium. He photographed aluminium foil, drapery velvet scattered with pastry dough, ink-infused gelatin and plastic tiles to create abstract images. These early works were exhibited in his first solo show at Metro Pictures, NYC, a few years later and James Welling found himself as part of a group of artists who included Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman. Artists who were all taking an alternative approach to photography and presenting it as fine art; something that was quite a new phenomenon at the time.

Just before the new millennium, Eyestorm released four photographic editions in collaboration with James Welling. Simply titled 21, 1A, 30 and 31, these are from a series of unique tonally inverted photograms called ‘New Abstractions’ which Welling worked on between 1998 and 2001.
JAMES WELLING
21 (1998), 1999

Edition of 100
28(w) x 35(h) cm
11.02(w) x 13.78(h) inches
MAKE AN OFFER
Art is about talking with each other and via ‘Make an Offer’ you can have a direct conversation with us and suggest a price for this artwork.
Your Offer *
Name *
Email *
Phone number *
Any Comment? *
* Required fields
James Welling (American, b. 1951)

21 (1998) , 1999

28(w) x 35(h) cm
11.02(w) x 13.78(h) inches
Silver gelatin print

Initialised and numbered on verso.
Edition of 100
PRICE
$ 830.00
MAKE AN OFFER
Find art trends here >
At first glance, these abstract works by Welling have quite an ambiguous existence. Black stripes of varying thicknesses cross over in all directions against a white surface, with no real order or identifiable structure, yet there’s a sense of harmony when the works are viewed together as a series. Viewers often see a cropped view of an architectural structure, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, but Welling’s work comes to existence in a much less grand scale.

The process of developing Photograms is a close relationship between the artist and his work and includes trial and error. Often hours are spent in a darkroom where photographic paper is exposed to one or more light sources. In this series of work, Welling would create masks to cover certain parts of the light sensitive paper, meaning that only uncovered parts would be exposed. This way he would create a ‘negative’ from which the ‘positives’ (the prints in the edition) were made. The technique is similar to how photos are created when using a camera with a roll of film. Except here, there is no camera lens between the light-source and the film, and for this reason photograms are often referred to as camera-less photography.
JAMES WELLING
1A (1998), 1999

Edition of 100
28(w) x 35(h) cm
11.02(w) x 13.78(h) inches
MAKE AN OFFER
Art is about talking with each other and via ‘Make an Offer’ you can have a direct conversation with us and suggest a price for this artwork.
Your Offer *
Name *
Email *
Phone number *
Any Comment? *
* Required fields
James Welling (American, b. 1951)

1A (1998) , 1999

28(w) x 35(h) cm
11.02(w) x 13.78(h) inches
Silver gelatin print

Initialised and numbered on verso.

This print is only available as part of purchasing a full set of four.
Edition of 100
PRICE
$ 830.00
MAKE AN OFFER
Find art trends here >
Between March and July 2019, Eyestorm exhibited the series of work at the showroom at Central Park West. Spreading out in sets of two between the large windows facing Central Park, the monochrome prints by the abstract photographer brought a stunning contrast to the main room. Observed with the backdrop of the trees in early spring outside, the composition of the four black and white photograms looked like the long and crooked branches on the other side of the glass.

The original photograms for ‘New Abstractions’ were exhibited in Europe as well as closer to home in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. In 1999, the same year the four editions were released with Eyestorm, the artist was awarded the DG BANK-Forderpreis in photography for the series. The prints are silver gelatin, each in editions of 100, and were derived from the original photograms.
JAMES WELLING
30 (1998), 1999

Edition of 100
28(w) x 35(h) cm
11.02(w) x 13.78(h) inches
MAKE AN OFFER
Art is about talking with each other and via ‘Make an Offer’ you can have a direct conversation with us and suggest a price for this artwork.
Your Offer *
Name *
Email *
Phone number *
Any Comment? *
* Required fields
James Welling (American, b. 1951)

30 (1998) , 1999

28(w) x 35(h) cm
11.02(w) x 13.78(h) inches
Silver gelatin print

Initialised and numbered on verso.
Edition of 100
PRICE
$ 830.00
MAKE AN OFFER
Find art trends here >
With works in several public collections such as MOMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, James Welling’s experiments and contributions have cemented his importance in the history of American photography.

You can find the four photographic editions, 21, 1A, 30 and 31, from 1999 in more detail onJames Welling’s artist page here.
 
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