Worldscapes · Mary Wessel

For her solo exhibition, experimental photographer Mary Wessel has created large-scale, color works of abstract drawings using a camera-less process known as the photogram. Working directly on photographic paper, Wessel employs an ever-changing series of darkroom processes, chemical solutions and household items to create images that are enigmatic and deeply mysterious. Energy reverberates throughout as skeins of color gather and cascade across the picture plane. Light appears to glow from within. As one views the work, there is a sense of the unnamed making itself present.  The experience is felt as much as perceived.

The twin elements of spontaneity and chance are used to explore themes of time, transformation and materiality. Nothing is stable. Deeply saturated forms are seen suspended, frozen momentarily in time. The work taps into a sense of wonder but also a sense of unceasing turmoil. Unmoored from representation, Worldscape’s abstract language and wide-ranging references (from the cellular to the cosmic) offer viewers room to interpret and engage with the images. An element of surprise permeates the work.

“Wessel’s work blurs the boundary between photography and painting.  She, along with other contemporary photographers, looks outside her medium to extend the dialogue on abstract photography,” said Bruce Hartman, executive director, Nerman Museum.

Wessel’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and can be found in public collections at the Nerman Museum, American Century Investments and Sprint Corporation, as well as private collections.

A gallery guide with essay by Elisabeth Kirsch, Kansas City based art historian/independent writer, will accompany the exhibition.