James Welling, Waterfall, 1981, gelatin silver print, 18 x 14".

James Welling

Cincinnati Art Museum

James Welling, Waterfall, 1981, gelatin silver print, 18 x 14".

In part because of the sheer variety of subjects, genres, and techniques that James Welling’s work traverses, it has always been difficult to pin down. The Los Angeles–based artist has likewise maintained an unclassifiable place within the Pictures generation, departing from his postmodern peers in his exploration of formal abstraction and photographic craft. In this exhibition, curated by James Crump, diverse works—ranging from tiny 2 1/4 x 3 1/4" chromogenic photographs made from Polaroids to largescale four-by-five-foot ink-jet prints—drawn from the artist’s nearly four-decade career reveal Welling to be a master of “postmodern modernism,” if you will, in that he freely combines the formal aesthetics and medium specificity of the earlier mode with the critique of subjectivity and media-savvy conceptualism of the later.

Such a combination is clearly apparent not only

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 2013 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.