James Welling (American, b.1951) is a photographer best known for his photographs of everyday materials such as phyllo dough and aluminum foil. Born in Hartford, CT, Welling studied drawing at Carnegie Mellon University and video at the California Institute of the Arts. Important artistic influences include the work of Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, and John Baldessari. Although he never formally studied photography, Welling set up a darkroom in 1976 and began learning about printing and developing with a series of architectural photographs of Los Angeles, CA. He started his early series Diary/Landscape in 1977, photographs of Connecticut landscapes paired with parts of his great-great-grandparents’ diaries from 1840. Welling has experimented with a range of photographic techniques, including gelatin silver prints, photograms, Polaroids, and digital prints. In 1978, Welling moved to New York, NY, and during the 1980s, he worked on several series of abstract photographs, which depict materials such as drapery, aluminum foil, and ink infused gelatin. After he moved to Los Angeles, Welling produced photograms such as his series called Torsos 2005/2008, which was shown at the Whitney Biennial, in New York, in 2008. From 2006 to 2009, Welling photographed Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut using filters of various colors. He has also worked with the digital alteration techniques using Maya and Photoshop, evident in the series War (2005) and Quadrilaterals (2005). In 1985, Welling received the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. His work is currently held in several collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He is represented by the David Zwirner Gallery in New York. He lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

Timeline

1951
Born in Hartford, USA
1969–1971
Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA
1971–1974
California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, USA; BFA, MFA
1995
Professor of Fine Art at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA
1995
Professor of Fine Art at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge and Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, USA
Lives and works in Los Angeles, USA

Exhibitions

2013
Tulsa Art Museum, Tulsa, USA (solo)
Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, USA (solo)
Fotomuseum, Winterthur, Switzerland (solo)
2012
Wako Works of Art, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, USA (solo)
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, USA (solo)
Donald Young Gallery, Chicago, USA (solo)
The Mind on Fire, Milton Keynes Gallery, London, England (solo)
2011
James Welling Photographs: The Phillip Johnson Glass House, Four Seasons Restaurant, New York, USA
2010
25 or 30 Years Gallery Part III: Photography, Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Connecticut, D’Amelio Terras, New York, USA
After Architects, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Group Show, BravinLee programs, New York, USA
How Many Billboards? Art In Stead, MAK Center for Art + Architecture at the Schindler House, Los Angeles, USA
Milk Drop Coronet, 30 Exhibitions on the Virtuosity of Thingness, Camera Austria, Graz, Austria
Mixed Use, Manhattan: Photography and Related Practices 1970s to the Present, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain
Outside the Box: Edition Jacob Samuel, 1988-2010, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA
Stairway to Heaven: Paul McMahon, Matt Mullican, James Welling, 1970–1976, Susan Inglett Gallery, New York, USA
James Welling: Glass House, David Zwirner, New York; Regen Projects, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
New Pictures 3: James Welling, Glass House, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, USA (solo)
2009
La Pintura y sus Alrededores, Galerie naechst St. Stephan, Vienna, Austria
2008
James Welling, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
Wurtz, Welling and S. Prina, Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles, USA
Photography on Photography: Reflections on the Medium since 1960, Joyce and Robert Menschel Hall for Modern Photography, New York, USA
Whitney Biennial 2008, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
James Welling: Works 1980-2008, David Zwirner, Inc., New York, USA (solo)
2007
James Welling, Maureen Paley, London, England (solo)
2006
THE MATERIALIZATION OF SENSIBILITY: ART AND ALCHEMY, Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York, USA
Dark Places, Santa Monica Museum of Modern Art, Santa Monica, USA
The Los Angeles Art Scene, 1955-1985, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
James Welling, Galerie Nelson, Paris, France (solo)
James Welling, Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
2005
James Welling: New Work, David Zwirner, New York, USA (solo)
James Welling: New Photographs, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
Photographies, Galerie Nelson, Paris, France
The Photograph in Question, von Lintel Gallery, New York, USA
Theorema. Une collection privée en Italie, la collection d’Enea Righi, Collection Lambert en Avignon, Avignon, France
Blooming: A Summer Garden for the Picking, Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, USA
PAIRS, GROUPS, AND GRIDS, Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York, USA
2004
In America; William Eggleston, Roe Ethridge, Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld, James Welling, Sutton Lane, London, England
Eblouissement, Jeu de Paume, Paris, France
100 Artists See God, Jewish Museum, San Francisco; Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach; Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Virginia Beach, USA
The Big Nothing, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, USA
New Photographs, Wako Works of Art, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Agricultural Works, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz; Albany Institute of Art and History, Albany, USA (solo)
California, Galerie Nachst St. Stephan, Vienna, Austria (solo)
Art History: Photography References Painting, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, USA
Likeness: Portraits by Artists by Other Artists, CCA Wattis Institute and Independent Curators International, San Francisco, USA
Double Exposure: A Portfolio of Photographic Diptychs, Inman Gallery, Houston, USA
2003
The Last Picture Show: Artists Using Photography, 1960-82, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA; Museo de Arte Contemporanea deVigo, Vigo, Spain; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland
Prima Facie, Nina Freudenheim Gallery, Buffalo, USA
Double Exposure, Edition Schellmann, New York, USA
Inaugural Exhibition, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, USA
Stéphane Couturier – Philippe De Gobert – Matthias Hoch – Bernard Voïta – James Welling, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium
James Welling: Los Angeles, Gorney Bravin + Lee, New York, USA (solo)
James Welling: New Photographs, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
James Welling, Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan, Italy (solo)
2002
James Welling Abstract, Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, Canada; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium; Donald Young Gallery, Chicago, USA (solo)
2001
Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne, Germany (solo)
ELLIPSIS, Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York, USA
2000
New Abstractions and Photographs from the Seventies, Galerie Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
New Abstractions and Work from the Seventies, Donald Young Gallery, Chicago, USA (solo)
James Welling: 1974-1999, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
New Abstractions, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
Galerie Nelson, Paris, France (solo)
Gorney Bravin + Lee, New York, USA (solo)
1999
New Abstractions, Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany (solo)
PENCILS OF NATURE: A DIALOGUE, Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York, USA
1998
James Welling Early Photographs: 1976-1985, Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York, USA (solo)
James Welling, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA (solo)

Literature

2002
Mahoney, Robert. “Justine Kurland, Catherine Opie, Martha Rosler and James Welling at Gorney Bravin + Lee”, Time Out New York, 27 June - 4 July 2002; p. 56
2002
Tumlir, Jan. "Previews: James Welling, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles", Artforum, Jan.; p. 72
2001
Tillman, Lynne "Portfolio: James Welling", Artforum, May; pp. 139-143
2001
Joselit, David. "Surface Histories: The Photography of James Welling", Art in America, May, pp. 136-143
2001
Jones, Kristin M. "James Welling at Gorney Bravin + Lee", Frieze, May; pp. 99-100
2001
Intra, Giovanni. "Reviews: James Welling at MoCA", artext, August - October 2001; p. 77
2001
Zellen, Jody. "Mining the Photographic Process", dArt International (Canada), Winter, p.40
2000
Giuliano, Mike, "James Welling Finds the Complexity", City Paper (Baltimore), 6 Sept., p. 37
2000
Sarah J. Rogers (ed. by), James Welling : Photographs 1974 – 1999, Wexner Center for the Arts, (essay by Michael Fried)
1984
Gelatin Photographs 1-12. Buffalo: C.E.P.A