Johann Wessels: Side Show

November 3, 2014 to May 11, 2015

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For his commission at the Kelowna International Airport, Penticton-based artist Johann Wessels has conceived of a caravan of wheeled carts or wagons, reminiscent of a travelling carnival. He calls his installation Side Show, and thinks of his piece as a parallel to touring exhibitions of art. The production rolls into town, and people turn out to look.

The artist’s range of images is impressive – from a ripple in a pool of water, to a cluster of grotesque faces in front of an elongated, striped circus tent; Wessels is a master of mimesis and verisimilitude, but also of distortion and the surreal. Whether consciously on his part or not, his work appears to embody a dark vision of life, and viewers might find themselves thinking of artists such as Goya or Ensor.

Wessels holds a BFA from the University of the Free State, in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He moved in Canada in 2000, and to the Okanagan in 2011, where he has been actively exhibiting his work.

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