January 18 - February 24, 2007
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For over thirty year Henry Wessel (b. 1942) has lived, worked and taught in the San Francisco Bay Area. He started experimenting with photography in the early 60's while still a studen at Pennsylvania State University. By 1968, Wessel was taking photographs while traveling the country. A 1971 grant from John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to document the "U.S. highways and the adjacent landscape" focused Wessel's subject matter on man made environments, sometimes populated, and sometimes not. What might be ordinary moments and places (almost empty deserts, fatigued split level houses, cinderblock motels, people caught in personal reverie, parking lots, odd shaped bushes and trees) become exceptional from Wessel's vantage. Crafted with formal perfection, a pretense of seriousness, and gentle sympathy, Wessel's photographs illuminte and freeze a glimpse of American life.
Henry Wessel received his BA in 1966 from Pennsylvania State University and his MFA in 1972 from State University of New York at Buffalo/Visual Studies Workshop. His work is included in many public collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Seattle Art Museum, WA; Tokyo Metroplitan Museum of Photography, Japan; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Wessel is having a solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from January 27 to April 22, 2007.