June 25: KIA Opens Fred Wessel Portraiture Exhibition

Posted: June 14, 2016

wessel cassiopeia

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts will open Eternal Beauty: Egg Tempera Paintings by Fred Wessel on June 25. A technique combining pigment with egg yolk and water, egg tempera painting has been used for centuries, and is associated with Italian Renaissance masters.

"Fred Wessel's portraiture pays homage to the Renaissance paintings that have inspired him," says Vicki Wright, KIA Director of Exhibitions and Collections. "He has become a contemporary master of this meticulous process, as shown in his expertly crafted works.

Wessel's images of contemporary women are known for luminescent skin tones and his masterly use of gold, silver, palladium leaf, and even pearls. He has said his time in Italy in the 1980s had a "profound and prolonged influence" on his work.

"I look to the early Renaissance, just as the artists of that time looked back to early Greek and Roman art," Wessel has said. "Not as a reactionary, but as one who rediscovers and reapplies important but forgotten visual stimuli."

Wessel will teach a sold-out workshop on egg tempera painting at the KIA's Kirk Newman Art School July 17-21, and will be available to discuss his work at a public reception July 21, 5:30-7:30 pm. He'll join Renee Stout, whose exhibition Renee Stout: Tales of the Conjure Woman opens July 23.

"One of the KIA's great strengths is the fact that we are both a museum and an art school, says Wright. "Visitors can enjoy the finest visual art through our exhibitions, and students experience the great joy and satisfaction of making art through our classes and workshops. The pairing of Mr. Wessel's exhibition and visiting artist workshop is a prime example of that the KIA brings to the community.

Wessel has most recently exhibited at the Arden Gallery, Boston; the Sherry French Gallery, New York; Villa Scaccabarozzi, Italy; S.R. Brennen Galleries, Santa Fe; Snyderman-Works Gallery, Philadelphia; Saks Galleries, Denver; The Belvedere Museum, Vienna; and The Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Vermont.

Eternal Beauty: Egg Tempera Paintings by Fred Wessel runs through October 2, 2016, and has been organized by the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, on the occasion of Fred Wessel's residency as a visiting artist in the Kirk Newman Art School. The KIA acknowledges the cooperation of the Arden Gallery, Boston, in facilitating loans for the exhibition. Additional examples of contemporary egg tempera painting from the KIA collection are on view in the Ward H. and Cora E. Nay Gallery, including works by Michael Bergt, Koo Schadler, and Robert Vickrey.

More information is available at kiarts.org. To learn more about Fred Wessel, see fredwessel.com. For high-resolution photos or other media inquiries, please contact Marketing Manager Katie Houston: katieh@kiarts.org, 269-366-8488.

Shown: Fred Wessel, Casseopeia, 2014, egg tempera with gold, silver, and palladium leaf