John Wesley: The Bumsteads
Author Robert Hobbs
Artwork by John Wesley
Publisher: Fredericks & Freiser
Over the course of the past 40 years, painter John Wesley has created a remarkably singular body of work whose subject is no less than the American psyche. While many artists of his generation have used popular images to explore the cultural landscape, Wesley has employed comic strip style and compositional rigor to make deeply personal, often hermetic paintings that strike at the core of our most primal fears, joys and desires. In this first volume ever to collect the entire iconic Bumstead series, which spans from 1974 until the present, we are introduced to several paintings that have never been reproduced before. These are dark and erotic works, sly and witty without ever giving too much away. Linda Norden described them thus in Parkett 62: “The Bumstead paintings–whether detailing scenes of domestic misunderstanding, zooming in on off-camera moments of bafflement or simply scanning empty halls and walls for private memories–are excruciatingly specific representations of the gulfs between feeling and comprehension… smart, funny, startling, irreverently empathetic and often heartbreaking, they are a welcome antidote to more laborious discourse.” With an insightful new essay by Robert Hobbs.