Wayne Gonzales

April 24 - June 6, 2003
521 W 21st Street

NEW YORK – The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Wayne Gonzales, opening on April 24th and running through June 6th, 2003.  This one-person exhibition is his third at the Paula Cooper Gallery. 

Gonzales’s work continues to straddle figurative and abstract modes, exploring a realm in which mechanical techniques of reproduction are made pertinent to and even fused with the idea of the painting as unique object.

This exhibition includes three large-scale works based on a single photograph of the sun repeated nine times.  The image, a grid of hallucinatory bursts of light made of overlapping squares of bright paint, is created through a process relying as much on mechanical reproduction as on the traditional painterly gesture.  Gonzales first “draws” intuitively on the digital image, thus relocating the gesture to the computer screen.  The resulting template is identical for each painting, but the stencils are applied and painted by hand, producing slight differences between the pieces.  The result is three near-identical yet unique works, owing their compelling effect as much to repetition as to difference.  

At the other end of the light spectrum is a series of images of the White House rendered in a mock-pointillist accumulation of black and silver or gray dots.  Taking the notion of low-resolution to its visual extreme, Gonzales virtually cancels out the image into a blur of metallic spots: the building only becomes visible, and even then only in a ghostly fashion, once one moves back far enough from the painting.

Also included in the exhibition are images of cartoon pin-ups reminiscent of 1960s soft erotica, forming a figurative counterpoint to the near-abstract paintings previously mentioned.  Balancing on swings or dodging paper airplanes, the pin-ups at first manifest a breezy indifference to the political and aesthetic concerns in the rest of Gonzales’ work.  Upon contemplation, however, they remind the viewer of the significance of representations of sexual desire as a key to a culture’s psyche.

Wayne Gonzales started exhibiting in the mid-1990s and had his first one-person show in New York in 1997.  His work from that period included face or cityscape paintings distorted to varying degrees of abstraction, often with the help of a computer.  His previous two exhibitions at the Paula Cooper Gallery, in 2000 and 2001, took the assassination of John F. Kennedy as their point of departure, using found photographs and archival documents from the period to highlight both the prominence and the unreliability of photographic images in subjective historical narratives. Gonzales lives and works in New York.

Artist Pages: Wayne Gonzales