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Press Release


Caught in the Rap Sure

September 1 – October 14, 2006


John Berggruen Gallery is pleased to present its first solo exhibition of recent paintings, drawings, and sculpture by William T. Wiley. The reception for the artist will be on Thursday, September 7th from 5:30 – 7:30pm.


William T. Wiley's works are rich with texts that suggest narrative complexity interspersed with humorous asides. They frequently incorporate a figurative style that refers directly to famous artists of the past. Wiley's early work was influenced by Abstract Expressionism, and especially by Clyfford Still. By the early 1970s, however, he had begun to make very vibrant, obsessive paintings, prints, and drawings that combined motifs of pattern-making and text with his own unique eccentric energy. Wiley developed a painterly language that while sometimes abstract, frequently contained references to diverse sources of inspiration, running the gamut from Jungian imagery to Zen Buddhism, from environmental concerns to art history. He uses current political and social issues to comment on life in our time. His stunning draftsmanship and love of language are combined in paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture.


William T Wiley was born in Bedford, Indiana in 1937. He studied at the San Francisco Art Institute where he completed a Bachelors of Fine Arts in 1960 and a Masters of Fine Arts in 1962. Since completing his studies in San Francisco, he has taught at the University of California at Davis and appeared regularly in individual and group shows on a national and international level, including major exhibitions such as the Whitney Biennial and Venice Biennale. He is represented in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Los Angeles County Museum, The Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands and numerous others.


In 2008, a traveling retrospective of Wiley's prints will be on exhibit at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco de Young Museum and the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu with accompanying Catalogue Raisonné; William T. Wiley: Retrospective, a traveling exhibition with catalogue, will be on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2009.