Wayne Gonzales b. 1957, New Orleans, Louisiana
Acrylic on canvas
78 x 78 inches (198.1 x 198.1 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Partial gift of the artist and purchased with funds contributed by the International Director's Council and Executive Committee Members: Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian, Christina Baker, Janna Bullock, Rita Rovelli Caltagirone, Dimitris Daskalopoulos, Harry David, Caryl Englander, Laurence Graff, Nicki Harris, Dakis Joannou, Rachel Lehmann, Linda Macklowe, Peter Norton, Katharina Otto-Bernstein, Tonino Perna, Inga Rubenstein, Simonetta Seragnoli, Cathie Shriro, Ginny Williams, and Elliot K. Wolk, and Sustaining Members: Linda Fischbach and Cargill and Donna MacMillan, 2009
2009 Wayne Gonzales
Invoking the venerable tradition of Pop art, Wayne Gonzales culls the images in his paintings from the mass media, most often the Internet, tapping into the zeitgeist of contemporary American culture. Gonzales first became known for a group of canvases relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy that used found imagery to delve into the conspiracy theories surrounding the event and that hint at a sinister communal consciousness fostered by the networks of the World Wide Web. A similar, though more ambiguous, sense of the public sphere seems to haunt his recent paintings of crowds. Meticulously hand-painted from images found online, works like Waiting Crowd (2008) conjure a faceless populace that might simply be the passive audience of some spectacular event, but could just as easily be a riot-ready gathering of the disenfranchised masses. Cast in inky black, pale blue, or gray, these paintings exaggerate their relationship to photographic media; but as the viewer approaches each work, the images themselves unravel, revealing not a host of photographic details but a complex web of increasingly abstract brushstrokes. Gonzales leaves viewers to find their own meanings in the crowd—apathy, danger, or perhaps the hope for positive social change.