24 May – 2 July 2017
I made a beeline straight for this one on its opening night, for despite the fact that Wayne Thiebaud has now become a staple of the American diet, glimpses of him on our shores are surprisingly few and far between. A whole two floors of him (and in this case a glimpse of the man himself)? Yes please!
A depression-era baby, Thiebaud paints psychedelic food offerings as if he were Charlie Bucket peering wistfully through the window of a candy shop while everyone else sings. Bakery Case (1996) in its searing baby blues and jarring neon yellows, mirrors Two Wedding Cakes (2015) with it’s whipped whites, electrified. The subject/object and background is treated with the same importance, creating an unsettling tension of forced harmony. He calls it ‘object transference’. I call it f***ing cool.
(He takes food painting “very seriously”)
We know Thiebaud does food well. What we (read: I) didn’t know is just how good his portraiture and landscape offerings are. We really need to talk about those Hockney-esque, multi-perspectival, acid trips across the river Delta and road systems and finely milled fields of Sacramento (also home to Thiebaud).
A fantastic portrait of the artist’s daughter Twinka Thiebaud is also on show (Green Dress 1966/2017). Twinka wears green and is suspended in white, heavy in her chair, and staring out at you from her position at the head of the gallery. Despite being one of the earliest works in the show, Wayne has revisited the work again and again, refining it up until this year.
As the title suggests, the work shown ranges radically from 1962 to present day. But you wouldn’t know it, he seems to have retained his cool throughout the years. Time is aloof here, and all that remains is a Thiebaudian world viewed through rose tinted glasses. Wayne’s world.
See the press release here