Wes Hempel : Tacit Turns
Nov 10 – Dec 20, 2011
Prompted by the presence of the ubiquitous modern-day personal ad, Wes Hempel alters his subjects of appropriated historical portraiture by imposing text – phrases revealing a poetic, secretive impulse. Hempel’s meaningful disruption to the discourse of art history transports viewers via the artist’s compelling use of imagery into decidedly contemporary psychological terrain. By not clarifying the gender of his subject’s desire, longing and forbidden love are free from their cloistered past allowing for uninhibited narrative interpretation. Hempel’s corresponding mysteries, paintings of cities and landscapes from the period, suggest places of imagined and clandestine future rendezvous. Like his understated subjects, the artist deftly illustrates the subjectivity of art history, expressing the unexpressed, while calling into question cultural perspectives on matters of the heart.
Wes Hempel received a B.A. from California State University, Northridge and his M.A from the University of Colorado. The recipient of Colorado Council on the Arts fellowships in both literature and painting, Hempel has paintings in the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia and the New British Museum of American Art as well as in private collections in the US and Europe. A writer and poet long before he became a painter, Hempel unspools his narrative thread throughout Tacit Turns.