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Peter Blake and John Wesley

Tracings: From the 1960s On

March 15 through April 12, 2008

Peter Blake and John Wesley

Press Release


Fredericks & Freiser is pleased to announce an exhibition of drawings by Peter Blake and John Wesley. For both Blake and Wesley, the process of tracing functions as a fundamental step in their artistic methodology – a translation device that allows the artist to transcribe daily imagery into their own aesthetic language. As predecessors to the Pop movement, Wesley and Blake looked at advertisement, tattoos, cartoons and typographical design to create something fantastical out of the mundane and record the social preoccupations of the time.


It is this initial process that allows Blake and Wesley to be selective in their appropriations and dictates the eventual qualities of the final work. Blake's tracings are complicated and crowded – his use of the thinner line allows him to build up intricate details that find their way into the competed paintings. Wesley strips down elements of popular culture to fine contours and evocative abstractions – leaving raw outlines over bare landscapes. However, the continued link between these two artists is a shared interest in both pop phenomena and nostalgic folk art. 

About the Artists
Peter Blake is often described, along with Richard Hamilton and Patrick Caulfield, as one of the godfathers of British Pop art. At the core of his work is an ever-present fascination with the world of popular culture and entertainment, including music, film, and sports. Perhaps best known for the 1967 album cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Blake feeds off this frenzied atmosphere, pulling from it numerous defining marks and details. Blake has had numerous solo shows, including retrospectives at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and the Tate Gallery, London.

For over forty years, John 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. John Wesley has shown widely in the United States and Europe; he has been the subject of over 60 solo exhibitions. His most recent retrospective was at Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld.