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John Wesley

Irish Paintings

October 23 through December 4, 1999

John Wesley, Wow! Oops! Oh Boy!, 1999
John Wesley, December 5th, 1998
John Wesley, Boat Race, 1999
John Wesley, Orange Tie, 1999
John Wesley, Kissing Blonde, 1999
John Wesley, Boyfriends, 1999
John Wesley, Good Morning Gloria, 1999
John Wesley, Pacific, 1998

Press Release

Irish Paintings
October 23 through December 4, 1999


Jessica Fredericks Gallery is proud to announce an exhibition of new paintings by JOHN WESLEY. This will be the artist’s 44th solo exhibition, and the first exhibition of paintings conceived as a single grouping since the early 1980’s. Recently Mr. Wesley has been the subject of a retrospective at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX, and was included in Andreas Gursky, Robert Grovsnor, John Wesley at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Americans at the JB Speed Museum, Louisville KY, Double Trouble: The Patchett Collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA. The Chinati Foundation has begun plans for a permanent installation of works by the artist.


For almost forty years, Mr. Wesley has created an unrelenting and remarkably singular body of work whose subject is no less than the American psyche. While many artists of his generation have used the popular image to explore the cultural landscape, Wesley has employed a comic strip-style and a compositional rigor to make deeply personal, often hermetic paintings that strike at the core of our most primal fears, joys, and desires. What we see in his paintings are the blues and pinks of childhood--the infinite space of endless water and endless flesh. The title from a painting dated 1978 captured it best as an Afternoon Sail at the Edge of the World. 


The Irish Paintings are a group of paintings conceived and mostly painted in Ireland in the past year. During the 90’s Wesley has concentrated on painting the female figure. If men appeared in these paintings they were usually falling from the sky, invisible to the erotic other. Now men and women are making contact. Clearly the men are less Prufrockian than before, though it is unclear if the women are any more accessible. Ireland, like so many other places that have inspired Wesley, enters these paintings having been reduced to its simplest form --water and sky. Yet the serenity of infinite space is never free from the frisson of desire, and the flat figures and decorative schemes are not without their mischief.  


Jessica Fredericks Gallery is located at 504 West 22nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm. For further information and/or photographs please contact the gallery by telephone at (212) 633-6555 or fax at (212) 367-9502.