To everything there is a surface, a façade, an outward appearance. With most of life, the truth of the matter is distorted by the façade, by the physicality, limited by what the eye can see that is only an artificial layer to truth.
Justin Wheatley’s multi-media works dare to probe beneath the façade and discover the essential truths of existence. His canvases and sculptures are intricately layered, including subjects such as buildings, homes, and bridges, latticed with abstracted line, shape, color, plane, symbol, and detail.
In a visual play, Wheatley deconstructs the physicality of the façade of his subject. It might be an old stone structure that will soon be lost to time, thus deconstructing permanence in lieu of temporal transcendence; it might be a brightly colored and “poppish” home that conceals all that is real within, thus deconstructing domestic ideals in lieu of secrets and obscurities; or it might be the multi-dimensionality of his abstract layering breaking up the absoluteness of the subject, thus deconstructing both space and time in lieu of a pure reality.
As his new exhibit of urban-themed collage works demonstrates, Justin Wheatley creates a multifaceted statement that is visually powerful and cognitively complex, weaving an ongoing fabric of existential meaning.
Wheatley’s new urban-based work is currently at 15th Street Gallery. Look for an in-depth look at the work in the upcoming September 2012 edition of 15 Bytes.
Ehren Clark studied art history at both the University of Utah and the University of Reading in the UK. For a decade he lived in Salt Lake City and worked as a professional writer until his untimely death in 2017.