new-york

John Wesley

fiction/nonfiction

Though John Wesley was initially categorized as a Pop artist in the early ’60s. the label does little justice to the richness of his oeuvre. Like his early contemporaries, Wesley chose to work with the visual language of popular culture, appropriating and reinventing the hard-edged style and sometimes the specific iconography of classic ’50s comic-book cartoons. For Wesley, however, this language provided a point of departure for subtle investigations of form (associated with first-generation Minimalists) and content, often described as Surrealist for lack of a better term. Wesley’s paintings continue to combine a Pop vocabulary, a refined Minimal sensibility, and a surrealistic proclivity for uncanny juxtapositions.

More than simple appropriations, Wesley’s portrayals of popular cartoon characters in odd, often pathological scenarios are tempered with a sense of humor. Ushering the viewer

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