James Wolanin’s paintings transport the viewer to an effervescent, candy coated world inspired by vintage advertisements, photographs, and the artist’s own personal history. The Russian Avant Garde, Cubism, Graffiti and Pop Art are all influences that can be found in the artists’ work. Identifying with Pop artists like Andy Warhol and James Rosenquist, Wolanin taps into our culture’s collective visual conscious, creating vibrant, stylized reflections of American life. Sunny skies, bright smiles, and carefree Sunday drives characterize the artist’s utopic vision, which blends a nostalgia for mid-century America with a contemporary aesthetic. He notes, “I try to bring the viewer back to a simpler time, a time of innocence.”
Wolanin’s background as a designer is evident in his dynamic compositions, fizzing color combinations, and bold use of graphic text. He forms each painting through an innovative stenciling technique that builds layer upon layer, color upon color. Beneath their glossy, seductive surfaces, the paintings swirl with intriguing psychological substance: Wolanin does not simply paint a scene, but constructs a fragment of narrative. Like the best portraitists, he can suggest entire relationships and personalities through a character’s pose or glance.
James Wolanin lives and works in New Jersey. His work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions and is part of many important collections world wide including the permanent collection of the Michener Museum of Art and The Alex Katz foundation and The Royal Palace of Monaco.