Artist Ingrid V. Wells’ New Exhibit Explores The Complex Nature Of Girlhood In American Pop Culture.

Artist: Ingrid Wells Photographer: John Janca

By Ingrid V. Wells

This month Voss Gallery in San Francisco will be hosting my solo exhibition of 20 oil paintings, entitled Sweet Fascination. The exhibition runs March 4-21st with a reception on Friday March 6th, 6-10pm. I’m thrilled to have been invited by GTHQ to share some background on my work. 

With all my artwork, I enjoy making visually entertaining paintings that reflect the feminine spectacle. My paintings begin with a still life reference, composed of tiny, plastic objects, undulating in fake frosting and sparkles. I manipulate and enlarge the imagery into bright, bold oil paintings. Conceptually I’m investigating the complex nature of girlhood in America, where young women simultaneously ingest messages of oppression and empowerment. My paintings engage with the aesthetics of joy as laid out by Ingrid Fetell Lee. Lee describes expressions of joy as a form of resistance, a theory that resonates with me. 

Artist: Ingrid Wells Photographer: John Janca

The oil paintings depict clusters of oversaturated, exuberant, sweet objects that take on a fantastical nature due to their enlarged scale. The viewer is invited to step into a bizarre world of personified desserts and theatrical playthings. My paintings reference the overwhelming pink toy aisle found in many American shops, with pop culture influences including Lucille Ball, Dolly Parton, John Waters, Barbarella, broadway musicals and Hello Kitty. 

I value artwork that is approachable to those both inside and outside of the art world, work that is inclusive and engaging for all ages. As an American woman artist I revel in working with color in an impactful way, working in direct opposition to the prejudice that David Batchelor describes below. 

Artist: Ingrid Wells Photographer: John Janca

“In the first, colour is made out to be the property of some ‘foreign’ body – usually the feminine, the oriental, the primitive, the infantile, the vulgar, the queer or the pathological. In the second, colour is relegated to the realm of the superficial, the supplementary, the inessential or the cosmetic.” (David Batchelor, excerpt from Chromophobia, London: Reaktion, 2000, p. 23)

The over the top work oscillates between moments of cringe worthy suffocation and girl power/ “You’d better make some room for me” (Lizzo, Coconut Oil, 2016) themes. It is presented with a high level of energy, fun and a certain degree of silliness, contradicting a long history of painting where this type of work has been dismissed. With a complicated sense of fascination and a heightened curiosity, I present my solo exhibition of oil paintings Sweet Fascination.

Artist: Ingrid Wells Photographer: John Janca

INGRID V. WELLS‘ work fancies the fantastic and humorous in theme and the charming, the kitschy, and the celebrity in subject. Her paintings investigate the world of gendered consumerism and the ethics of fascination. Wells’ work has been shown in the Bay Area at the Bedford Gallery, New York at the Untitled Space, PULSE Miami with Treat Gallery and internationally at the CICA Museum in South Korea. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Daily Mail, BUST Magazine, El País, Create! Magazine and Teen Vogue, among others. She manages San Francisco Artists Studios, enjoys teaching advanced painting courses with SFAI’s Public Education program and runs TWIRL: A Decade of Artists Interviews. Wells currently lives and works in San Francisco. 

SWEET FASCINATION: Ingrid V. Wells Solo Exhibition
March 4th-21st, 2020
3344 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
RECEPTION: Friday, March 6, 6-10PM

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