James Wolanin

Wolanin’s paintings transport the viewer to an effervescent, candy- coated world inspired by vintage advertisements, photographs, and the artist’s own childhood memories. Identifying with Pop artists like Andy Warhol and James Rosenquist, Wolanin taps into our culture’s collective visual conscious, creating vibrant, stylized reflections of American life. Sunny skies, bright smiles, and carefree Sunday drives characterize the artist’s Utopic vision, which blends a nostalgia for mid-century America with a contemporary aesthetic. He notes, “I try to bring the viewer back to a time of innocence.”

Biography

James Wolanin taps our culture’s collective visual conscious, creating vibrant reflections on American life. Blue skies, effervescent smiles, and carefree adventures characterize the artist’s Utopic vision, which blends nostalgia for mid-century glamour with a contemporary aesthetic. Identifying with Pop artists like Warhol, James Rosenquist, and Alex Katz, Wolanin gives us sparkling, stylized images that read like mixtures of glossy advertising and ecstatic daydreams. In his latest series, “A Summer Song,” a sense of warmth radiates from the canvases, full of sun-soaked beaches, pools, and polished women in retro-style bathing suits that instantly conjure the golden age of American leisure.
 
“I try to bring the viewer back to a time of innocence,” Wolanin has said. His paintings transport us to a universe inspired by photographs, real-world vintage advertisements, and the artist’s own childhood memories, inhabited by figures of the American dream come to life. The paintings wink at our conception of an idealized past even as they recreate a vision of perfection. Beneath their seductive surfaces, they swirl with psychological substance—Wolanin does not simply paint a scene, but constructs what he has called “unfinished emotional narratives for the viewer to complete.” Like the best portraitists, he can suggest entire relationships and personalities through a character’s pose or glance.
 
Wolanin's background as a designer is evident in his dynamic compositions and fizzing color combinations. He forms each painting through an innovative stenciling technique that builds layer upon layer, color upon color, and concludes—fittingly—with a coating of surfboard resin. In addition to numerous solo and group exhibitions, his work is found in a number of significant collections, including a recent purchase by the Alex Katz Foundation. Educated at the School of Visual Arts in New York, he lives and works in New Jersey.

Education

1999 duCret School of Art, graduated Cum Laude, Plainfield, NJ.


Selected Collections

James A. Michener Art Museum

Alex Katz Foundation


Publications

2015 American Art Collector Magazine, April issue, “New Romantics” Exhibition Preview

2013 Vintage Pop: Retrospective Artist Book, Published by Caldwell Snyder Gallery


Grants

2009 Artist in Residence, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT.

2006 Artist in Residence, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY.


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2020  Recent Works, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2019 Here Comes the Sun, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena

2018  Recent Paintings, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco

2017  Recent Paintings, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA.

2016  A Summer Song, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA.

2015 New Romantics, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2014 All That Glitters, Campton Gallery, New York, NY.

2013  Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA.

            Vintage Pop, Campton Gallery, New York, NY.

2012  On The Road, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2011  Campton Gallery, New York, NY.

2010 Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2009 Museum Works Galleries, Santa Fe, NM.

            Museum Works Galleries, Aspen, CO.

2008 Snow Bunnies, Museum Works Galleries, Aspen, CO.

2007 Stewardess Paintings, Museum Works Galleries, Aspen, CO.

2001 MTV Showcase Artist, MTV Times Square Studios, New York, NY.

Press

PRESS

Selected Artworks

Sunshine Girls

Sunshine Girls

Acrylic on Panel

36 x 60 inches

210109

Chalet

Chalet

Acrylic on Panel

48 x 48 inches

210107

The Look

The Look

Acrylic on Panel

36 x 36 inches

200499

Radiance

Radiance

Acrylic on Panel

36 x 36 inches

200498

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Acrylic on Panel

60 x 60 inches

200300

Cavern Club

Cavern Club

Acrylic on Panel

72 x 72 inches

200299

Becoming Venus

Becoming Venus

Acrylic on Panel

72 x 72 inches

200298

Swim Cap Bouquet

Swim Cap Bouquet

Acrylic on Panel

60 x 30 inches

200274

Flower Power

Flower Power

Acrylic on Panel

60 x 30 inches

200273

Let the Sunshine In

Let the Sunshine In

Acrylic & Resin on Panel

55 x 180 inches

190290

June

June

Acrylic & Resin on Panel

48 x 48 inches

190264

Always Summer

Always Summer

Acrylic & Resin on Panel

48 x 48 inches

190261

Girls on a Sunny Day

Girls on a Sunny Day

Acrylic & Resin on Panel

53 x 72 inches

180190

Education

1999 duCret School of Art, graduated Cum Laude, Plainfield, NJ.


Selected Collections

James A. Michener Art Museum

Alex Katz Foundation


Publications

2015 American Art Collector Magazine, April issue, “New Romantics” Exhibition Preview

2013 Vintage Pop: Retrospective Artist Book, Published by Caldwell Snyder Gallery


Grants

2009 Artist in Residence, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT.

2006 Artist in Residence, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY.


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2020  Recent Works, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2019 Here Comes the Sun, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena

2018  Recent Paintings, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco

2017  Recent Paintings, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA.

2016  A Summer Song, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA.

2015 New Romantics, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2014 All That Glitters, Campton Gallery, New York, NY.

2013  Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA.

            Vintage Pop, Campton Gallery, New York, NY.

2012  On The Road, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2011  Campton Gallery, New York, NY.

2010 Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2009 Museum Works Galleries, Santa Fe, NM.

            Museum Works Galleries, Aspen, CO.

2008 Snow Bunnies, Museum Works Galleries, Aspen, CO.

2007 Stewardess Paintings, Museum Works Galleries, Aspen, CO.

2001 MTV Showcase Artist, MTV Times Square Studios, New York, NY.

Biography

James Wolanin taps our culture’s collective visual conscious, creating vibrant reflections on American life. Blue skies, effervescent smiles, and carefree adventures characterize the artist’s Utopic vision, which blends nostalgia for mid-century glamour with a contemporary aesthetic. Identifying with Pop artists like Warhol, James Rosenquist, and Alex Katz, Wolanin gives us sparkling, stylized images that read like mixtures of glossy advertising and ecstatic daydreams. In his latest series, “A Summer Song,” a sense of warmth radiates from the canvases, full of sun-soaked beaches, pools, and polished women in retro-style bathing suits that instantly conjure the golden age of American leisure.
 
“I try to bring the viewer back to a time of innocence,” Wolanin has said. His paintings transport us to a universe inspired by photographs, real-world vintage advertisements, and the artist’s own childhood memories, inhabited by figures of the American dream come to life. The paintings wink at our conception of an idealized past even as they recreate a vision of perfection. Beneath their seductive surfaces, they swirl with psychological substance—Wolanin does not simply paint a scene, but constructs what he has called “unfinished emotional narratives for the viewer to complete.” Like the best portraitists, he can suggest entire relationships and personalities through a character’s pose or glance.
 
Wolanin's background as a designer is evident in his dynamic compositions and fizzing color combinations. He forms each painting through an innovative stenciling technique that builds layer upon layer, color upon color, and concludes—fittingly—with a coating of surfboard resin. In addition to numerous solo and group exhibitions, his work is found in a number of significant collections, including a recent purchase by the Alex Katz Foundation. Educated at the School of Visual Arts in New York, he lives and works in New Jersey.

James Wolanin

Press

James Wolanin

Wolanin’s paintings transport the viewer to an effervescent, candy- coated world inspired by vintage advertisements, photographs, and the artist’s own childhood memories. Identifying with Pop artists like Andy Warhol and James Rosenquist, Wolanin taps into our culture’s collective visual conscious, creating vibrant, stylized reflections of American life. Sunny skies, bright smiles, and carefree Sunday drives characterize the artist’s Utopic vision, which blends a nostalgia for mid-century America with a contemporary aesthetic. He notes, “I try to bring the viewer back to a time of innocence.”

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