After the Rudolf Stingel show at Sadie Coles HQ, the new solo exhibition of Wayne Gonzales at the Stephen Friedman Gallery in London is a great opportunity to continue exploring the process of painting through photography. Gonzales is being showcased for the fourth time at the gallery, presenting a new group of paintings that capture life in 21st century America.
The artist’s creative process is methodical, sharp, and mindful. He reinterprets photographs by extracting the image, altering it digitally, and then enlarging it onto canvas in careful cross hatches. He reduces the color palette down to two or three colors, creating a homogenous “All-American” story. None of the final paintings are exact replicas.
Gonzales has been working with digital image software since the 1990s and primarily works with photos from anonymous sources. However, for the current exhibition, five of the works are reinterpretations of photographs taken during the Depression Era by famed American photographer, Walker Evans. The other works are based on recent photographs taken from Gonzales’ New York apartment, airport tarmacs, or beach scenes across the country.
The exhibition also features a series of four drawings which shed light into Gonzales’ meticulous creative process. Using graphite pencils to create work on a smaller scale, the artist explores scale and space by using the same technique of crosshatching on paper. The “Bathers” series also stands out from the other monochromatic works, as Gonzales has applied a different color palette, using a rustic range of yellow, green and brown.
Though his work is often interpreted as an abstract reflection of the American psyche, his work is ultra precise. He explores specific moments in the country’s history through opposing periods of landscapes and cities. Wayne Gonzales is a visual poet, creating a memory within the contemporary frame of the United States.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Wayne Gonzales holds a BA from the University of New Orleans. After a year of graduate school in fine art, he moved to New York in the late 1980s. He worked as a studio assistant for Peter Halley, and through him, formed ties with writers, curators, and art dealers. His work also appears in the collections of the Whitney, Guggenheim, and Hirschhorn museums.
“All Americano” is on view at the Stephen Friedman Gallery in London until January 23rd, 2016.