Best Surrealist Show - 2002
Wes Hempel: Fictional Accounts
Wes Hempel: Fictional Accounts was the perfect title for this show, because every picture told some kind of story. But truthfully, it's hard to say what those stories were, despite the fact that all of the paintings were done in a strictly realistic style. Over the years, Hempel has conjured up various surrealist worlds in a number of ways, and this exhibit included some examples of his earlier work, such as his signature floating houses. But for these most recent pieces, he captured a land somewhere over the rainbow, a place where the sky was filled in by the old masters, the rooms were fitted out and arranged by the Ancient Greeks, and a young man who looks like he stepped right out of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue is seen sitting on the floor right in the middle. Is Hempel's world the best of all possible ones? Perhaps not, but it was surely worth the visit.