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Press Release

NEW YORK – The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Wayne Gonzales based on images of crowds. The exhibition will open on May 5, 2007, at 521 West 21st Street, and will remain on view through the month of June.

Known for his politically charged paintings based on photographs and documents culled from the archives of American history and popular culture, Gonzales now turns his attention to crowd imagery, a subject he has explored on several occasions since 2004. Painted in restrained, somber hues, the paintings are based on photographs of crowds found on the internet. From a visual standpoint, the paintings register Gonzales’ transformation of his source either by employing a dot pattern reminiscent of the Ben-Day technique, or by breaking down the photograph in superimposed tonal and chromatic layers. As the image shifts in and out of focus, the viewer’s visual experience oscillates between the indexical nature of the photograph and the materiality of paint on canvas.

Gonzales’ sources are anonymous digital images of unspecified events. The crowds in his paintings are shown alternately cheering or waiting, frozen in passive enjoyment or mired in doubt and indecision. As such, they seem to run counter to the ideas of political resistance and collective empowerment usually associated with crowd imagery both in history painting and in popular media. Rather, they point toward a dystopian conception of political participation as a passive or complacent cheering on.

Wayne Gonzales was born in New Orleans in 1957 and started exhibiting in the mid-1990s. His work has been shown in various international venues including P.S.1 Center for Contemporary Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; the Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain, Dôle; and the Consortium, Dijon, France. Gonzales is represented in public and private collections in the United States and Europe, most notably the Dallas Museum of Art, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Neuberger Museum of Art. Gonzales lives and works in New York.

For more information, please contact the gallery: (212) 255-1105 or