A comprehensive exhibition showcasing more than 30 years of work by artist William Wegman will be on view at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art July 13⁏ctober 21. “William Wegman: Hello Nature” will feature 100-plus works including photographs, videos, paintings and drawings †all of which were produced in or inspired by the state of Maine.
Taken together, this body of work attests to Wegman’s rigorous and sustained engagement with the natural world and places the artist squarely within the American landscape tradition. To mark the opening of this major exhibition, the artist will deliver a keynote talk on Saturday, July 14, at 5 pm, followed by a public reception at the museum.
Among the highlights of the exhibition are Wegman’s postcard paintings, canvases that use vintage postcards as their starting points, physically incorporating multiple images into fantastic tableaux. In addition to Wegman’s well-known Weimaraners, “William Wegman: Hello Nature” also features excerpts from the artist’s illustrated nature books, which are compilations of collages, drawings, photographs and prose that evoke both Nineteenth Century transcendentalist literature and the whimsical outdoor recreation guides that Wegman first encountered as a child.
A significant number of the artist’s punning drawings is also included, as well as examples of his rarely exhibited “stain” paintings. Drawn primarily from the artist’s collection, this immersive exhibition offers a unique perspective on some of Wegman’s aesthetic influences.
Raised in rural Massachusetts, Wegman has long been influenced by the landscape of New England, spending his summers in the Rangeley Lakes Region of Maine for the last three decades. A follow-up to the museum’s record-breaking 2011 exhibition “Edward Hopper’s Maine,” this summer’s “William Wegman: Hello Nature” will once again examine the Maine landscape as inspiration, this time arguing its significance for an artist not commonly associated with Maine.
“‘William Wegman: Hello Nature’ is the first exhibition to emphasize the connection to nature that runs through Wegman’s lengthy career †not just in his famed photographs of his Weimaraner dogs but across a wide range of media,” said the exhibition’s co-curator Kevin Salatino. “The exhibition brings critical focus to this often-overlooked aspect of Wegman’s oeuvre, highlighting the artist’s ongoing exploration of nature’s place in the cultural imagination.”
The museum is at 245 Maine Street. For more information, www.bowdoin.edu/art-museum or 207-725-3275.