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Life Arts

William T. Wiley and the Definition of “Mixed Media”

By       Message GLloyd Rowsey     Permalink
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The only tradition I can think of which William T. Wiley belongs to is what I think of as The Rene Magritte Tradition: Wiley's a mild looking and well-dressed artist, seemingly consummately bourgeoisie, whereas many of the man's earliest works were precursors for the revolutionary installations of Marina Abramovic and countless others.

I'd been thinking about how difficult it is to present pictures of "mixed media" when I found Mr. Wiley's art in the Mixed Media Section at artnet's Artist Works Catalogues. In his presentation at AWC, only 17 of his more than 120 works are classified as "mixed media," but they could define the oeuvre.*

The Artist, William T. Riley

"From the very beginning of his career, William T. Wiley has been a maverick. He came on the scene in the early 1960s, developing his inimitable figurative style when virtually every artist in the United States who wanted to be taken seriously was painting in the Abstract Expressionist mode....Over the ensuing decades, Wiley has remained steadfast in his pursuit of truth and humor. - Mike McGee in The Main Art Gallery of California State University catalogue: The World According 2 William T. Wiley"

Taking a Lot For Granite, Oil on Board (1964)

Three Wishes - Paper, Wire, Canvas, and Tape (1967)

Worked Able, Mixed Media on Plywood (1972)

Putting the Heart Before the Course (1982)

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Harp - Steel and Paint (1986)

Platform - Steel and Paint (1986)

We're All Gods, Kids....We're All Kids, Gods (1987)


*All the images are courtesy of artnet's Artist Works Catalogues. See here, where it says:

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"This body of Modern and Contemporary artists' sites brings insight into the depth and scope of extraordinary artists' oeuvres, and it serves as a research tool for students, faculty, museum curators, researchers, dealers and collectors.

Artist Works Catalogues reflect the dynamic nature of the Web, and our goal is to present a growing body of artists' online monographs. Unlike published print monographs and catalogues raisonne's, these are living catalogues, which will be constantly updated as artists create new works and estates release additional information. artnet offers these catalogues free to the public as an educational resource. Simply click on an individual artist's image to begin, and check back often to browse new catalogues."


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I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)

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