Since the 1960s, Wessel has photographed vernacular scenes of the American West, particularly in California. Immediately drawn to the quality of light he encountered during a visit from New York to Los Angeles, Wessel moved cross-country to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1971. From stretches of dusty highway to modest California bungalows framed by telephone poles and palm trees, Wessel’s often spare and solitary images capture the idiosyncrasies and irony of American life with a wry objectivity. His photographs of parking lots, beach-goers, and shrubbery — all illuminated by the brilliance of Western light — find beauty and intrigue in the commonplace and document the social landscape in a manner that is casual yet formally compelling. An exhibition featuring 29 vintage photographs taken by Wessel from the late 1960s to the late 1980s opens tomorrow evening at the Pace MacGill gallery. The exhibition is on view until July 11, 2011.
-Pace MacGill Gallery