Creating Worlds - Billy Schenck and James Wolanin

Joanne Artman Gallery
Jan 5, 2018 1:05AM

New Mexico based Billy Schenck, and New Jersey based James Wolanin are both artists that hold a deep fascination and respect for icons of vintage America. Schenck and Wolanin both hone imagery that is specific to each - the Western genre and the golden age of print respectively.  Both artists integrate motifs based upon popular imagery, capturing a mirror of the real world through the merging of collective memory and pop culture. Their work is equal parts statement and commentary, presenting wry yet idealized versions of a vintage past that is an amalgamation of personal as well as cultural history, nostalgia and mythology.

Billy Schenck
Chaos in Calgary
Joanne Artman Gallery

Schenck’s oil on canvas paintings borrow heavily from iconic imagery particular to the Western film genre, specifically Spaghetti Westerns. However, Schenck frequently integrates other references as well - drawings found in 19th century local newspapers, personal photographs, or vintage magazine covers. The paintings in turn present a story that combines film history with personal narrative. Equally distinctive is his reductive painting style which combines areas of localized color, creating easily readable paintings that mimic the effect of early 8-bit color graphics or the elegant simplicity of linocut prints.

James Wolanin
Mona Lisa of the Motorway
Joanne Artman Gallery

The sleek surfaces of Wolanin’s resined works on panel easily resonate with the glossy magazine covers that his subject matter evokes. The works are populated primarily by women. Women with cat-eye sunglasses driving vintage cars, women with glossy red lips lounging by the pool, women with flipped bobs going for a night drive. Each work is imbued with a suggestion of an internal life that is subject to the wholesomeness of the Americana genre, yet extends beyond those limited restrictions. A distinctly 60’s era color palette is a knowing homage to the decade, while the flat planes of color read on an abstract level as well, in some areas leaning almost towards an early minimalist aesthetic. Through the eyes of Wolanin, the works present a timeless, distinctly unique vision of a specific moment in our collective history.

Billy Schenck and James Wolanin are represented at JoAnne Artman Gallery  || 326 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach CA 92651
 || 511 A West 22nd St. New York NY 10011

Joanne Artman Gallery