A comprehensive exhibition showcasing more than 30 years of work by artist William Wegman will be on view at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art from July 13 through October 21, 2012. William Wegman: Hello Nature will feature more than 100 works including photographs, videos, paintings and drawings — all of which were produced in or inspired by the state of Maine. Taken together, this body of work attests to Wegman’s rigorous and sustained engagement with the natural world and places the artist squarely within the American landscape tradition. To mark the opening of this major exhibition, the artist will deliver a keynote talk at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 14, and this will be followed by a public reception at the Museum.
Among the highlights of the exhibition are Wegman’s postcard paintings, canvases that use vintage postcards as their starting points, physically incorporating multiple images into fantastic tableaux. In addition to Wegman’s well-known Weimaraners, William Wegman: Hello Nature also features excerpts from the artist’s illustrated nature books, which are compilations of collages, drawings, photographs and prose that evoke both 19th-century transcendentalist literature and the whimsical outdoor recreation guides Wegman first encountered as a child. Also included are a significant number of the artist’s punning drawings, as well as examples of his rarely exhibited “stain” paintings. Drawn primarily from the artist’s collection, this immersive exhibition offers a unique perspective on some of Wegman’s aesthetic influences.
Raised in rural Massachusetts, Wegman has long been influenced by the landscape of New England, spending his summers in the Rangeley Lakes Region of Maine for the last three decades. A follow-up to the Museum’s record-breaking 2011 exhibition Edward Hopper’s Maine, this summer’s William Wegman: Hello Nature will once again examine the Maine landscape as inspiration, this time arguing its significance for an artist not commonly associated with Maine. This ongoing series of summer exhibitions is a fundamental part of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art’s mission —conceiving exhibitions with popular and scholarly appeal in order to serve audiences both regionally and nationally.
“William Wegman: Hello Nature is the first exhibition to emphasize the connection to nature that runs through Wegman’s lengthy career — not just in his famed photographs of his Weimaraner dogs but across a wide range of media,” says Kevin Salatino, the exhibition’s co-curator. “The exhibition brings critical focus to this often-overlooked aspect of Wegman’s oeuvre, highlighting the artist’s ongoing exploration of nature’s place in the cultural imagination.”
About William Wegman
William Wegman was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1943 and, with his family, splits his time between New York and Maine. He received a B.F.A. in painting from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston in 1965 and an M.F.A. in painting and printmaking from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1967.
Wegman’s works have been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world, most recently at the Brooklyn Museum; the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.; the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
William Wegman has received countless awards and grants, including the New York Foundation for the Arts Honor, two Guggenheim Fellowships and two National Endowment for the Arts grants.
About the Catalogue
William Wegman: Hello Nature will be accompanied by an extensively illustrated 176-page catalogue published by DelMonico Books-Prestel. In this very personal volume, Wegman considers his artistic formation and, with great sophistication, examines his relationship to place. In addition to the artist’s commentary, it features texts by exhibition curators Kevin Salatino and Diana Tuite, and a piece of short fiction by award-winning author Padgett Powell.