Contemplative, evocative and mysterious, Gonzales' work uses a rigorous formal structure to mine the processes of painting and perception. His process begins with digital images culled from random searches on the internet. In addition to this, he uses source photographs of places and people taken himself. Gonzales often revisits the images he has taken and zooms in and out of the whole composition like a camera lens, cropping, moving and playing around so that the final work has a whole different meaning.
Dates and locations of the actual images are unimportant, but content and search phrases provide catalysts for further investigation. The artist edits the image into a form that can be executed in a restricted palette of one or two colours. The image may be visible from a distance, but upon closer inspection becomes lost in the very brushwork that defines its form: an experiential reality analogous to the difference between watching a crowd from a distance and being a participant in the action.
Although their genesis bears common ground with the photography-based cycles of the political paintings of Gerhard Richter and Andy Warhol, his paintings insist upon a shift in our perception of photographic truth. Painting here is exhausted by the infinite associative searches and links created by culture's new short-term memory. By breaking down his source images and building them back up, Gonzales re-invests the canvas with a new relevance: history paintings for the digital age.
Recently Gonzales has executed work using crosshatching to mine the detail of distinctly American scenes. He creates form through the density of interlocking lines, resulting in depths of shadow and light. The method recalls the etchings of Old Masters, along with the line drawings of contemporary artists such as Sol LeWitt. In March 2019 Stephen Friedman Gallery staged Gonzales' fifth solo exhibition at the gallery. In autumn 2020 Gonzales will have a solo exhibition at Praz-Delavallade, Los Angeles.
Notable solo exhibitions include: ‘Wayne Gonzales', Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK (2019); ‘Woman in the Garden', May 68 Gallery, New York, USA (2017); ‘Wayne Gonzales', Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, USA (2016); Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2015); Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, USA (2013); ‘Wayne Gonzales: Works on Paper', Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2012); ‘Light to Dark/Dark to Light', New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, USA (2011) and ‘Wayne Gonzales', CAC Malága, Malága, Spain (2011). Further notable solo exhibitions include Wayne Gonzales, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2010); ‘Wayne Gonzales: Free and Clear: Online Project Room', Dinter Fine Art, New York, USA (2008) and ‘Judge - Vincent Katz and Wayne Gonzales', Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, USA (2008).
Selected group exhibitions include: ‘Notebook', curated by Joanne Greenbaum, 56 Henry, New York (2019); ‘Everything Is Connected: Art and Conspiracy', The Met Breuer, New York, New York, USA (2018-2019); ‘Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century', First Art Museum, Nashville, Tennessee, USA (2018), toured to The Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia, USA; ‘Notable American Women', MX Gallery, New York, USA (2018); ‘Prospect. 4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp', Prospect Triennial, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (2017-2018);‘America is Hard to See', Whitney Museum of Art, New York, USA (2015), ‘The Painter of Modern Life', curated by Bob Nickas, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, USA (2015); ‘The Optical Unconscious', curated by Bob Nickas, Gebert Stiftung für Kultur, Rapperswil, Switzerland (2014); ‘Flash Back-November 22, 1963', Addison Gallery, Andover, MA, USA (2013-2014); ‘LAT. 41° 7' N., LONG. 72° 19' W, Martos Gallery, East Marion, New York, USA (2013); ‘Dark Matters', Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, USA (2012); ‘All that Glisters', Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2011); ‘Big New Field: Artists in the Cowboyʼs Stadium Art Program', Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas, USA (2010); ‘Every Revolution is a Roll of the Dice', curated by Bob Nickas, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, USA (2009); ‘Empires and Environments', curated by Dominique Nahas and Margaret Evangeline, The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, USA (2008) and ‘Resistance Is', Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA (2007).
Gonzales' works are included in prominent international collections, including the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Microsoft Art Collection, Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Maramotti Collection, Reggio Emilia, Italy.