The photographs of Henry Wessel deal with the nature of places, usually public locations: parks, beaches, back and front yards, views from small city streets. Human activity has shaped these places, yet Wessel’s photographs become something imbued with mystery, far apart from the everyday world. Though made in an absolutely straightforward manner, these photographs are not without a hint of irony. Photographs such as Wessel’s idiosyncratic portraits of Bay Area houses, are bestowed with his own specific and unique meaning which transcends the prosaic matter.
Wessel is the recipient of two Guggenheim fellowships, and three National Endowment of the Arts fellowships. Most recently he has exhibited at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence and in Japan. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Seagrams Collection, New York; George Eastman House, Rochester, and others.