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Review: Henry Wessel at Pace/Macgill

Posted By Turner Uligian, Friday, June 24, 2011
Updated: Thursday, January 2, 2014
DATE: June 24, 2011

Henry Wessel: Vintage Photographs
Through July 8, 2011

Untitled, 1982, gelatin silver print, © Henry Wessel,
Courtesy of Pace/McGill Gallery
The mini retrospective of Henry Wessel's work now on view at Pace/Macgill is an eclectic mix of vernacular images. From humerus landscapes to straight shots of neighborhood homes; from intimate moments rendered comical to backs at the beach there is one thing that ties the work together- the quality of light. Many of the images on exhibition and much of Wessel's work was made in the West, California in particular. While the construction of his work may rely on or reference his documentary photography influences, Walker Evans and Robert Frank among them, the quality of his print was unique. The printing trend at the time was to lean on the heavy tones, but this would not due for Wessel. Perhaps influenced by the light that drew him West, Wessel brought out the subtle tones in the liter range. For this his prints have a warm richness and even seem to shine from within.

For more on this exhibition visit Pace/Macgill Gallery.

New Yorker review

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