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Layers & Sediment: Steve Wellman Retrospective

Layers & Sediment: Steve Wellman Retrospective

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An art-world outsider by choice, Steve Wellman is an eclectic and prolific contemporary artist who lives and works outside of the main urban centers. Although he has exhibited regularly, the record of his artistic life is still mostly unwritten. This essay, based on a mid-career retrospective exhibition, provides an opportunity to consider his body of work within a larger context and to survey the myriad themes and mediums he has explored over the course of twenty years. While art historians’ carefully foot-noted monographs often build on decades or even centuries of earlier scholarship, this exhibition explores the process of historicizing the contemporary. Wellman uses experimental physical media blended with humor to explore themes including time, memory, procreation, construction and disintegration. His artistic practice is an investigation of complex interactions between disparate concepts, materials, and processes. Overlapping planes of paint and resin are layered over textured sediment or discarded artifacts that index small histories of interaction with nature and human use. His art consumes and renews itself, embodying time, personal experience and the essence of a particular place.