Graceful lines and bold color brought together through a nuanced approach to texture and material. A line that is both a relief as well as a spatial tool to curve shadow, compose color and separate texture. JoAnne Artman Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of work by Los Angeles based painter Lee Waisler (b. 1938). Through varied subject matter, the grouped works show the culmination of a long and articulated artistic practice, utilizing an established visual language and unifying approach.
Waisler’s body of work comprises abstract compositions as well as portraits, both featuring a prominent and distinctive use of line for composition as well as a tool to divide space and color into distinctive, physical boundaries. The use of raised lines and blocked areas of color is reminiscent of a woodblock print, with the line in this case building on top of the surface rather than revealed through the carving away of negative or positive space, turning a painting into something far more sculptural.
In his portraits these wooden separators are used to show areas of shadow, a change in color - in his abstracts, this line is used as a means to both compose as well as direct the artistic process. Waisler turns towards iconic as well as historically significant public figures for subject matter in his portraits. This interest relates to Waisler’s early work, which depicted political statements and took stances on the Vietnam War and the American Civil Rights Movements. Throughout his work, Waisler utilizes dimensional compositional elements including wood, sand, carbon, and glass. Waisler’s intent and approach renders the works unyieldingly direct - they are evocative, poetic, and bold.
Waisler’s work is held in numerous permanent collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York; The Jewish Museum, New York, New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; and the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India.