The Maxwell Davidson Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of sculptures by Tom Wesselmann entitled Plastic Works. This is the first show to exclusively feature Wesselmann’s plastic artworks, and it is the artist’s seventh one-man exhibition at the Maxwell Davidson Gallery. This exhibition has been organized in collaboration with the Estate of Tom Wesselmann.

 

Tom Wesselmann was a superior draftsman with an unrivaled eye for color. His Great American Nudes series - depictions of faceless naked women - helped propel him to the pinnacle of the art world during the Pop movement. By the mid-1960s, Wesselmann was already working with a variety of media, including collage, when he started experimenting with molded plastic.

 

The plastic molding process inspired Wesselmann both in its novelty and its reproducible mechanization. Enhancing the already tactile and sensuous nature of Wesselmann’s work, this new medium showed less of the creative process and more of the concentrated aesthetic for which the artist was striving. The meticulously crafted lines, saturated colors, and sharp but pleasing contrasts for which Wesselmann is known are all evident in the vibrant and bulbous plastic forms.

 

The earliest of these pieces is Still Life #54 depicting a red apple and highly stylized radio. The modish radio could perhaps provide commentary on the plastic medium itself and the sensibilities of the Pop era, or echo the sensuality of the bright red apple. More likely the piece was a test to determine the viability of the startlingly rich forms and, more importantly, was seminal in directing Wesselmann towards creating plastic interpretations of his more famous subject matter: the female nude.

 

This is the first ever all-plastic show for Tom Wesselmann. The works include Great American Nudes, still lifes, and seascapes. Though most of the pieces are multiples, the larger works were either variations or very small editions; some were even unique. The molding process enabled Wesselmann to create variation by painting different hair color and skin tone, effectively creating individual works.