For more than a decade, William Wegman has been making inventive photographs of his Weimaraner dogs in improbable costumes and unlikely poses. These pictures have been the vehicle by which Wegman has illustrated issues of aesthetic and conceptual interest. In his two recent series of photographs Wegman and his canine muses retell the near-mythic tales of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood (both published this year by Hyperion). Wegman’s wry humor and conceptual underpinnings are apparent in his fabrications of both stories. In the classic ashes-to-riches tale of Cinderella, Battina plays the lovely uncomplaining Ella opposite her mother Fay as the evil stepmother. In Little Red Riding Hood Fay and Batty are re-united with Chundo (another of Fay’s real-life litter) to reenact the story of intrigue and deception.
The exhibition is comprised of approximately twenty unique photographs made with the large-format (24×20”) polaroid camera. The unwieldy camera rarely leaves the Polaroid studio yet for these two projects it was relocated to Wegman’s cabin in Maine alongside Fay and her progeny.
In addition to Fairy Tales, the exhibition will debut Wegman’s recent project Letters, Numbers, and Punctuation. In this portfolio Fay and three of her compatriots acrobatically form all 26 letters of the alphabet as well as ten numerals and eight punctuation marks. Wegman’s formalist foundation and odd sense of the serene come together in this entirely new canine-gothic hieroglyph.
William Wegman was born in 1943 in Massachusetts. He is internationally recognized as a painter and a videographer as well as a photographer. A retrospective of Wegman’s works originated in 1990 at the Kunsthalle in Lucerne and has traveled to more than a dozen museums in Europe and the United States.
This exhibition is concurrent with Victorian Secrets: Anonymous Photo Collages from the Nineteenth Century and Andrew Bush: Envelopes.