26.9 – 20.10 2018
26.09 – 20.10.2018
Huxley-Parlour Gallery presented a solo exhibition of 20 x 24 inch Polaroids by the celebrated American artist William Wegman from May to June of 2019.
William Wegman is an internationally renowned artist and photographer, whose photographs, videos and paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries across the world. He is best known for his on-going artistic collaborations with his Weimaraners, his lifelong muses.
In 1979, William Wegman was invited by the Polaroid Corporation to work with the recently developed 20 x 24 Polaroid camera. Inspired by this new medium, Wegman made some of his first colour photographs, continuing his collaboration with his dog Man Ray who had been central to Wegman’s 1970s black and white photographs and video work. Wegman continued to work extensively with the 20 x 24 Polaroid camera until 2007 when Polaroid stopped producing film. In his over thirty years of working with this camera, Wegman explored a rich and wide range of themes from abstraction and anthropomorphism to surrealism, cubism and colour theory. Each new dog suggests new ideas and new ways of working. Fay Ray followed Man Ray in 1987 and her children and their children provided a large and on going cast of characters.
William Wegman is best known for his ongoing artistic collaborations with his Weimaraners. Wegman’s early work focused on black and white photographs and moving images that utilised the subtlest of visual puns to convey their message. Man Ray, his first Weimaraner, became a central figure in Wegman’s early photographs and video works. He became an early exponent of conceptual art, and his first works were performance based. Pieces included throwing radios off a roof and floating Styrofoam letters along the Milwaukee River. An installation work was included in Harold Szeemann’s influential exhibition Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form in Bern in 1969, alongside works by Joseph Beuys, Richard Serra and Bruce Nauman.
Wegman’s first photographs and films were made as a way of documenting these early ephemeral and performance-based works, although they quickly became the focus of his artistic output. Wegman returned to photographing dogs in 1987, using a large format 20×24 inch Polaroid camera. Wegman worked extensively with the Polaroid format from 1979 until 2007.
William Wegman was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1943. He received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston and an MFA in painting from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne in 1967. Wegman has been the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships and two National Endowment for the Arts grants and his work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the world. These have included the seminal exhibitions When Attitudes Become Form and Documenta V, as well as a retrospective organised by the Kunstmuseum Lucerne in 1990, which travelled to museums including the Centre Pompidou, Paris and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Recent exhibitions include William Wegman and California Conceptualism, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018, and Being Human, which was the central exhibition at Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles in the summer of the same year.
William Wegman lives and works in New York and Maine.