Fredericks & Freiser is proud to present a historical exhibition of John Wesley paintings from 1977 to 1990. Alice’s Floor: Repetition and Absence focuses on two aspects of Wesley’s paintings made during the 1980’s that are less narrative and more elemental than his earlier work.
Wesley’s large repetition paintings from this time consist mostly of simple forms such as dogs, sailboats, horses, mountains, and babies. The visual rhythm of their seriality creates a dynamic between positive and negative space and a perceptual shift from figuration to abstraction. However the overall tone of these works comes from the multiplication of the form itself and is nothing less than haunting.
Likewise, Wesley’s paintings of absence from this time period have a similar sense of disquiet. These visualizations of emptiness become internalized as emotional states. Here the two opposite modes of painting hold a similar power of psychological hieroglyphs.
About the Artist
John Wesley (b.1928) has created an unrelenting and remarkably singular body of work whose subject is no less than the American psyche. While many artists of his generation have used the popular image to explore the cultural landscape, Wesley has employed a comic strip-style and compositional rigor to make deeply personal, often hermetic paintings that strike at the core of our most primal fears, joys and desires.
John Wesley has had numerous retrospectives including Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (travelled to Portikus, Frankfurt); Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, (travelled to DAAD Galerie, Berlin); PS1/MoMA, Harvard University Art Galleries at the Fogg Museum; Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld; and Fondazione Prada at the 2009 Venice Biennale. His work is in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Kunstmuseum, Basel. A permanent installation of his work is on view at the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas. This will be the artist’s 68th solo exhibition and his 10th at Fredericks & Freiser.