“James Welling: Place/Life Studies,” an exhibition detailing the photographer’s work in New England from 1970 to 2010, will be on view Jan. 31 to May 5 at the University Museum of Contemporary Art.
A reception for the artist is being held Wednesday, Jan. 30 from 5-7 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., Welling will discuss his work and career with Lorne Falk, visiting associate professor at Hampshire College and former dean of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Included are Welling’s earliest experiments in photography, video and watercolor, all harking back to his formative years in Connecticut. The exhibition concludes with his Glass House series (2006-10). This architectural landmark by Philip Johnson in New Canaan, Conn., became a laboratory for Welling’s ideas about transparency, reflectivity, and color. His recent videos, taken at the Glass House at different seasons of the year, will also be premiered in this exhibition.
Welling has created beautiful and challenging photographs for more than 35 years. His practice has addressed a range of issues and ideas: the tenets of realism and transparency, abstraction and representation, optics and description, personal and cultural memory, and the material and chemical nature of photography. His photographs are equally about vision, light, negative, and solid as they are about the depicted image and subject. Using an experimental approach to the medium of photography, Welling investigates a variety of formal and theoretical ideas about picture-making. His work has helped transform the history and practice of contemporary photography.
In 2009, Welling’s work was featured in the critically acclaimed historical survey, “The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Welling is head of photography at UCLA and was a visiting professor at Princeton University this past fall. His work is held in major museum collections, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
UMCA is open Tuesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and weekend 2-5 p.m.