First published: Spring 2012
The scenes of Iowa artist Timothy Wehrle teem, their colour and patterning evoking illuminated manuscripts, Persian miniatures, comic books, sacred mandalas, crazy quilts, psychedelic album covers and the kaleidoscopic drawings of Adolph Wölfli: yet his style and subjects remain uniquely his own. Wehrle eschewed artistic training, believing that it would quash a pure and bountiful vision.
Exploring the dynamics and pitfalls of contemporary culture, Wehrle’s imagery deftly fuses an aura of charm with an undercurrent of admonition; it conveys a complex vision of humanity and poses some tough questions about civilised existence. Writer and gallerist Randall Morris has observed, ‘[Wehrle’s] drawings poetically unwrap the concept of a Cold War of the soul in a new world where the artist-citizen is constantly acted upon by encroaching depersonalisation but is able to resist and ultimately strike back utilising dreams, visions, and art making.’
Executed in graphite, coloured pencil and ink that he makes himself from walnuts, Wehrle’s intricate images distill moments of experience like pages from a diary. His conceptual material is wide-ranging, spanning topics of lighthearted homage (to a quirky dog he saw on the street or the festive tendencies of octogenarians), to the poetry of everyday life (the mind-expanding capabilities of music, the intangibility of beauty and the complexities of love), to harsh comments on the ills of society (child abuse, poverty, internet pornography, the divisiveness of technology and the ultimate breakdown of human interaction).
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #75