I first met Wendell after we interviewed him for an issue of B/D a few years back. You never know what artists will be like when you actually meet them but Wendell’s been one of the most sincere artists I’ve met in a while. We’ve been trading studio visits for around a year now and will be in a group show together later this month at Pedersen Projects in Pomona. Wendell is also getting ready for a solo show in October at Kravets|Wehby and a group show at Galerie Jean-Luc&Takako Richard in Paris so I stopped by his studio to check out the progress. Turns out Wendell had a studio jam packed full of massive paintings well on their way to being finished.
Before I get into images of the paintings let me break down Wendell’s process. He usually starts each piece with a list of notes and descriptions of various stories, scenes and images. As these lists develop, he comes up with ways to connect them together to create complex narratives. Sometimes the story is evident, and sometimes they are private narratives that turn into coded abstractions.
Once the idea is fleshed out on paper, Wendell creates these digital collages that lay out the painting. It’s amazing how detailed these Photoshop collages are. Some parts of it are hand drawn on the computer while other parts are images found online that are then digitally manipulated. Just a few weeks ago Wendell called me to see if I had photos of seaweed on a person’s head. Now I know why.
And here you have the painting in process. It amazes me how close the digital sketch is to the final painting. This piece is 40-50% done.
Most of the paintings are a mixture of acrylic and airbrush. Wendell is a master of tape. Here you see some seashell outlines that are cut out of tape. The tape allows him to move the shapes around easily until he gets a composition he’s happy with.
Like I said…. Tape Master. This ball is just a few paintings worth.
The painting on the left is completed.
Here’s a great detail of an old maid in a sack.
One of my favorite pieces in the studio. Not sure if that’s a turkey or vulture but I love the detail on the neck.
Wendell originally began as a sculptor. You can best see the effects of him working in 3d in these white silhouette that pop up in the paintings. They are created with many layers of white paint that has relief patterns and lines cut into it. It leaves you with a nice effect, with lots of small and delicate details to get lost in.
Hip hip… Horray!
Another favorite in the studio.
Sacks seem to be a reoccurring theme in the work. Here’s a sailfish in a sack.
The all important paint supply studio shot.
Not sure what the title of this piece is yet… but I’m going to call this one “Rainbow Head.”
Thanks for the sneak peak at the new work Wendell!