James Welling
New Abstraction #1A

2010, 107 x 72 inches signed and numbered by the artist in an Edition of 15 + 3APs Hand dyed Tibetan wool and silk

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James Welling has created beautiful and challenging photographs for over thirty-five years. Operating in the hybrid ground between painting and sculpture and traditional photography, he is foremost a photographic practitioner, enthralled with the possibilities of the medium. Since the mid-1970s, Welling’s practice has unflaggingly shifted to address an impressive array of issues and ideas: personal and cultural memory, the tenets of realism and transparency, abstraction and representation, optics and description, and the material and chemical nature of photography. His program, in particular, helps refine our definition of a photograph while offering a meaningful new paradigm for contemporary art. He is represented by galleries that are among the most highly respected in the world. The image for the rug is based on a series of photograms called New Abstractions, that Welling creates in the darkroom with an enlarger but without a camera. His work is represented in numerous public collections including those at Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art. Since 1995 Welling has been the head of the photography department at UCLA.

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Loring Knoblauch wrote about the New Abstractions:

 After looking at the New Abstractions a while, their representation of anything in particular fell away (particularly since the dark areas have no sense of depth or volume), and I was left with sharp edged angles and stark contrasts. Of course, there are obvious relationships to the history of photograms (Man Ray, Moholy-Nagy et al), but in many ways, these images seem to function more like Franz Kline Abstract Expressionist paintings, the thick lines anchoring the pictures and shaping the space.  

Welling’s rugs are based on his “New Abstractions” a series of “photographs” that are camerless-photographs (photograms) created in the darkroom with an enlarger, photopaper and handful of cardboard rectangular shapes.  The New Abstractions have been shown frequently in museums and galleries all over the world including the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, Germany, Regen Projects in Los Angeles and David Zwirner Gallery in New York.  At the core Welling is a conceptual artist, picture maker so the translation of his work into the decorative arts in a rug was a natural step.  Part of The Pictures Generation, Welling studied under John Baldessari at CalArts and exhibited with Sherrie Levine and Cindy Sherman at Metro Pictures. 

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BravinLee editions is a proud member of GoodWeave.

GoodWeave’s founder Kailash Satyarthi was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in honor of his career dedicated to ending the exploitation of children around the world. GoodWeave, an international nonprofit organization geared toward abolishing child labor in the carpet industry, has liberated and educated thousands of children, bringing them from carpet looms to classrooms.  Satyarthi and GoodWeave work to guide consumers to its Child Labor Free Certified rugs and replicate their market-based approach of certification in other sectors.  Kailash said at the ceremony, “I refuse to accept that the shackles of slavery can ever be stronger than the quest for freedom.” He asked those in attendance to place their hands over their hearts and “listen to the child inside.”