NEW: A Wegman Winter Motif ❄️
We have a long history with William Wegman—we debuted our first edition of his iconic imagery way back in 2010, and have enjoyed collaborating with him ever since. Today, we’re thrilled to share our second new Wegman this year, and 13th overall: Sno Glo.
Based on an original 24 x 20 color polaroid, Sno Glo combines the sweetness of a portrait of Wegman’s dog Penny with the implicit nostalgia of the snowglobe. Both are tempered by the spareness of the composition, which recalls something “lovely, dark, and deep,” (thanks Robert Frost!). It’s a perfect mix for the approaching winter holidays, pulling together light and dark, warmth and cold.
A snowglobe can be a loaded object—just ask Orson Welles, who used one in the opening of Citizen Kane as a key to the mystery and wonder of childhood. In his statement accompanying Sno Glo, Wegman looks back even further, recalling spirit photographs and the trick photography techniques used to create the ghostly images. That spirit photography and snowglobes were both born in the latter half of the 19th century, around the same time the weimaraner (A.K.A. the grey ghost) became a working bird dog, is too delightful a coincidence to ignore.
But the title Sno Glo evokes a different era of the object’s history: in the mid-20th century, mass production came for the formerly intricate objects, tossing them firmly into the realm of kitsch. It’s a place Wegman himself is quite comfortable exploring, as with the picture postcards that inform works like The Architects, the voice of a mid-century ad man who springs up from time to time in drawings, and the frilly house dresses and beehive hair-dos in his photographs. There’s droll affection for the trappings of a different era—a time when an object would proudly proclaim itself Sno Glo. (Sno Glo also drops the two silent W’s, a playful concession to the artist’s signature.)
If you’re familiar with Wegman’s expansive body of work, which includes photography, video, drawing, and painting, you know that clever tricks, like the double exposure here, are something of a calling card. Whether creating swirling spatial contradictions in paintings or presenting the how-did-he-do-that puzzle of dogs transformed into humans (see our last Wegman edition, Farm Days) Wegman plays with perception and perspective across mediums. Through spotlighting these tricks, we can see Wegman anew: artist as conjurer. As magician.
Adept with artistic sleight of hand, Wegman has spoken adamantly against digital manipulation in favor of an analog, and somehow more honest, artifice. A behind-the-scenes shot on his Instagram account reveals some of the machinations. But like with a magician’s trick, isn’t it more fun to stay in the dark?