John Wentz is a contemporary painter whose process resides in an area between rigid technicality and honest expression. Working within the classical idiom of the human figure, his goal is to reduce and simplify the image to its core fundamentals: composition, color, and paint application. Wentz limits his palette to blue-greens and reds as a way to explore the emotive qualities and relationships of color while experimenting with cropping and vast negative space as the essence of composition. Paint application and brush strokes are broad and simplified as a means to connect and convey these ideas to the viewer in a way that only painting can.

John was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. His interest in art began at the age of 6 when he first discovered Batman and Spiderman comic books. After years of copying comics panel by panel he worked in the commercial arts as a muralist, billboard creator, and freelance illustrator. After learning to paint by doing airbrushed billboards, he decided to pursue Fine Art and work in oils. Since then, he has had 3 solo exhibitions in San Francisco and numerous group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. His works have appeared in many publications and have won multiple awards. John now paints full time in his studio in Alameda, CA.

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John Wentz – “Imprints” a solo show 

Opening: Saturday, June 6 with an opening reception from 6pm to 10pm.
On view: June 6th – June 27th, 2015

 Hashimoto Contemporary
804 Sutter Street San Francisco, CA 94109

 Hashimoto Contemporary is proud to present “Imprints”, a solo exhibition of new work by San Francisco artist John Wentz. A reflection on process and abstraction, Wentz’s latest series of paintings perforates the structure of the classic portrait by exploring a visual breakdown of information. Playing with the viewer’s own projection onto his subjects, the artist focuses on a vulnerability and emotive recognition that seeps through each carefully rendered likeness.

 Inspired by some of the art world’s most renowned contemporary portraitists, Wentz contemplated new ways to envision his practice in light of this month’s show. In the artist’s own words, “For ‘Imprints’, I took a step back to reevaluate my process. I was really motivated by a Chuck Close quote I heard in an interview recently. He was asked about achieving a certain style and said that’s kind of like putting the cart before the horse. He said, “style is embedded in the process.” Of course, there are elements that I’ve been exploring the last couple of years, but I wanted to take a new approach. So, I focused on process and let the image do its own thing.”

 “Imprints” offers a range of insight into the different facets of Wentz’s methodology. The show is comprised of more than a dozen oil paintings spanning over a variety of sizes, including one life-size portrait and several smaller studies on paper and wood panel. Each piece communicates through a vocabulary of fragmented mark-making. Saturated strokes of oil paint are left unblended, giving away to earthy under-paintings and ghostly grids of pencil marks. This layering of different applications creates a spatial tension between the figure and the background. Wentz elaborates, “As you lose information, lose form, begin to abstract a little, it’s as if the viewer is invited to participate in the picture. I feel like it takes the viewer to a place of vulnerability where they can be open to more of an emotional experience that paint, in its abstract sense, can provide.”

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