WES LANG AND BAIT MEN MOVE FORWARD TO NOWHERE TEE (WHITE)
Over the last several decades, artist Wes Lang has been honing his craft and mining the iconography of a post-pop Americana. Lang is an individualist whose heroes—fallen country music icons, jazz musicians, Native American Chiefs—are renegades that have carved their own paths despite adversity. In the Wes Lang universe, recurring figures and symbols— horses, reapers, skulls, birds, the indigenous American, and other totems of the American West— serve as emblems in one way or another for freedom. His frenetic and sometimes manic paintings nod to carefully studied painters such as Twombly, Guston, Basquiat, and Kline. The American West weighs heavy in Lang’s mind, a symbol of the American Dream where ‘going West’ represents the chance to reinvent oneself. Notions of reinvention and awakening resonate deeply with Lang, as frequent references to the Tao Te Ching and the lectures of Ram Dass are scattered throughout the work, revealing a central ethos that underlies the artist’s complex iconography: the affirming power of belief in oneself. The repetition of images and phrases become ritualistic and operate like reaffirming mantras, reminders to “remain at your center” and “be here now.” While Lang’s iconography of skulls and other memento mori might, at first glance, seem to inspire hopelessness, deeper engagement with the work makes it clear that the larger purpose is to help people. To help them understand what they can achieve from life in the short duration they are here, provoking them to take a chance on themselves.
In 2014, Lang made his institutional debut with "The Studio" @ aRoS Aarhus Museum of Art. His pieces are included in many notable international collections including MOMA and Murderme. He is represented by Almine Rech worldwide and V1 Gallery in Copenhagen. Lang currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
*shipping by Jan 2022