Tom Wesselmann
February 15 – April 5, 2008
Opening reception: Friday, February 15, 7-9 p.m.

8069 Beverly Blvd. (at Crescent Heights Blvd.), Los Angeles, California 90048
Contact: Niccolò Brooker/Marvella Muro
Telephone: (323) 655-1550, Fax: (323) 655-1565
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Tom Wesselmann, Mixed Bouquet with Leger, 1993, silkscreen on paper, 54 1/2 x 51”.

Los Angeles, California – Forum Gallery presents the exhibition Tom Wesselmann from February 15th through April 5th, 2007. Twenty-six works by this great Pop artist date from the 1960s to just before his death in 2004.  The exhibition includes ink drawings, silkscreen prints, oil paintings, and a number of works on paper executed with the water-based acrylic painting called Liquitex which Wesselmann frequently used.
Along with Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Wesselman will forever be associated with the genesis and best of New York’s Pop Art movement of the 1960s.  His seemingly simple yet deceptively complex compositions burst with primary colors, often representing erotic female nudes or sprightly still-lifes.  Remembered for his large scale and highly charged Great American Nudes and Still Life series, in 1964 Wesselmann began his Bedroom Paintings and Smokers, which he continued throughout the 1980s. Noteworthy examples of both these series appear in the Forum Gallery exhibition.  

The stunning 1973 Smoker Study showcases a pair of fiery red and faceless lips exhaling smoke through equally red nail-polished fingers which hold a glowing cigarette. The glowing cigarette reappears in Study for a Smoker and Smoker Profile (both from 1978), the latter ingeniously accompanied by the partial outline of the lady smoker’s face, her full lips open and sensuous eyes shut.  
In the oil painting Study for Bedroom Painting #57 (1983) two nipples are outlined against an open window.  In keeping with the artist’s humorous interplay of tanned versus un-tanned body parts, the breast closest to the window is a deep orange tone in contrast to the stark whiteness of the other and the rest of the sitter’s body. Also from 1983, the delightful small pencil drawing titled Study for Bedroom Painting # 73 is patterned and layered somewhat differently, thus offering a distinct sensibility to the same theme.
The wondrous still-lifes represented in the exhibition are lush and varied, ranging from the vivid hues and jazzy rhythms of the large-scale silkscreens, Still Life with Lichtenstein and Two Oranges and Mixed Bouquet with Léger, to the entrancing Birthday Bouquet, an enamel on laser-cut steel in which the flowers pop out in an intense array of color. As with his nudes and smokers, these vibrant and intense still-lifes are replete with linear animation and dazzling color. Forever fluid yet variously abstracted, Tom Wesselman’s imagery has become an iconic logo of late twentieth century art.

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