Wayne Gonzales (American, b.1957) is an artist best known for his influence on Contemporary Art in the modern era. Born and raised in New Orleans, LA, he began to study art at the University of New Orleans, where he received a BA in 1985. Many of his early works appeared at galleries in the New Orleans area, though he did take part in a show at Galerie Art & Public in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1985.
In 2003, he moved to New York City and began to work as visiting assistant professor in the graduate department at Hunter College, a job he held until the following year. He then moved to Cooper Union in New York City and began working as a visiting artist. Gonzales eventually caught the eye of the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York, which began to show his work. Other institutions in the area also showed his work, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Guggenheim Museum. All of these early shows were group shows in which his work appeared next to that of other Contemporary artists.
The first solo showing for Gonzales came in 2011. The show, titled Wayne Gonzales: Light to Dark/Dark to Light, took place at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Gonzales chose the location due to its connection to the city. Many of his pieces drew inspiration from the people he met and the things he experienced while living there. The death of President John F. Kennedy was something he used as inspiration in his early years, primarily because his family knew some of the people associated with the case. Those images often used black, white, and gray colors, but his modern works are better known for using brighter colors and shading that make the images look like printed photographs. Many of his pieces change as the viewer moves back from the piece. Seated Crowd, for example, looks blurry up close, but the image becomes clear when viewed from several feet away. Some of his other works include Rigolets and Oceana. Gonzales is represented by the Paula Cooper Gallery, and he currently lives in New York, NY.