Sunday, October 20, 2013

James Welling Searches for Beauty

James Welling "Gelatin Photograph 40"

The dramatic, glossy black shapes in James Welling’s “Gelatin Photographs” look like coal or tar or chunks of primordial ooze. Both solid looking and fleshy in appearance, they are laid out across a plain white surface and look like an abstract painting. In reality, they are made of Jell-O, dyed black with ink. These mysterious images appear in Welling’s current retrospective at the Hammer Museum. On view through Jan. 12, it surveys 35 years of photographic work in which nothing is ever just Jell-O.