John F. Walté
As an artist, I find it my place to point out things that may not be self-evident. Sometimes I take this seriously, and sometimes it only amplifies the humor and irony I find in life. My artwork reflects this need of mine to peel the onion of existence and find only more layers.
Originally a painter who then embraced studio photography and commercialism, I returned to non-photo-based art after being inspired by the new technologies available in computer generated imaging (CGI). This machine, this tool, tapped my creative core like no other medium. The computer is a tool that allows the artist to blur the lines between sculpture, painting, and photography.
In 2004, I moved from a large urban center and the world of design and fashionable things and people, to a rural corner of Wisconsin. Here, I put to question how we perceive each other. My explorations of how media has defined beauty and how we selfishly project these unfulfillable ideals onto the reality of others, have manifested in three bodies of work: Angry Little Men, Feral Dumb Men and, Click-Bang, You’re Dead. Soon I realized though, I had in these same works created portraits of disenfranchised American men, filled with fear, guilt, and uncertainty.
Angry Little Men examines the countenances and stances of men with an attitude and a grudge. Somehow their due has not been met and they mean to change that very soon. Feral Dumb Men looks at men in pain, with some great, unexplained loss. Composed in the style of the German Expressionist Film, they are mouth-breathers in a daze, close-up, staring directly at the viewer. The Click-Bang, You’re Dead series studies confrontations grown out of casual sidelong glances that have escalated into threats of imminent death when you least expect it.
Recently I have begun a series of portraits of women and couples. These vignettes capture snap-shot-like moments of self-doubt, embarrassment, and frustration not soon to be resolved. I am now calling this entire body of work Wisconsin Poetic Realism.
All of my subjects have been stripped of the viewer’s self-imposed tyranny of what is beautiful. One must look at them, in the eye, and see them for who they are.