los-angeles

James Welling

Regen Projects

At first glance, the group of photographs presented in this show seemed to have absolutely nothing in common with the serial photographs for which James Welling is known. Gone was any thematic link; the selection seemed arbitrary, like a puzzle flown in on the red-eye from nowhere.

Welling’s past work had used repetition to downplay the significance of any individual image, critique originality, and accentuate the differences that existed among the photographs. His concisely engineered, conceptually tight work was dense with meaning, though virtually opaque to the casual viewer. In one series, Welling used crumpled aluminum foil, tile, and dough to suggest the pictorial representation of landscape without having to leave the studio. Another showed images of the 18th-century lacemaking machines still used in Calais factories.

In his new work, theoretical concerns were not completely abandoned.

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