This James Welling limited-edition photograph, FDB9, 2009–12, is from his series Fluid Dynamics. The image will be featured in James Welling: Monograph (Aperture, Spring 2013).

As a student Welling was introduced to American Color-Field painting, which became a source of inspiration for his abstract work. Between 1986 and 2006, Welling worked on a series titled Degradés, in which he exposed different parts of photographic paper to different color filtrations using a color enlarger. This series was a precursor to Fluid Dynamics, for which Welling made photograms of water on chromogenic paper, scanned the images, and altered the colors with Adobe Photoshop. Both bodies of work are evidence of his concern with photography’s materiality—especially in the face of technological change—and with the medium’s relationship to painting and sculpture.

Although Welling’s practice has changed over the decades, he has continued to find new ways to apply materials to a photographic surface. As he has said, “I’m interested in finding new ways of applying materials to a surface. Photography is just a different way of applying material and some of my works draw out this process.”

Signature: Signed and numbered by the artist

About James Welling

James Welling has consistently pushed the limits of documentary and abstract photography, reinventing the medium in the process. Experimenting with materials such as draperies, pastry dough, and window screens, Welling’s abstract works play with dimension and color to engage the physiological capabilities of the human eye. To create his photograms, Welling dispenses with the camera altogether, using light and color filters to imprint images directly on to the film, as he did for the chromatically brilliant series Flowers (2004-2011).

American, b. 1951, Hartford, Connecticut, based in New York, New York; Los Angeles, California

Solo Shows on Artsy

JAMES WELLING: MONOGRAPH, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

Group Shows on Artsy

LUX: The Radiant Sea, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York
Highlights from the Architecture + Design Collection, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), San Francisco