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John Wolfer - Painter, educator, meat man

John Wolfer is a Cincinnati based artist-teacher that first contacted me to discuss meat paintings, something we had in common.  He also had a history with the meat room, through his dad being a butcher.  He often painted scenes of a meat counter and later brought in the traditional advertisements into his compositions.  
 Over the years our long distance friendship included meeting, finally, for our exhibition "Meat Store" in Brooklyn in 2006 at gallerythe.  We've kept in contact and that's partially the reason for this site.  Meat artists sharing and connecting like John and I have has led to unexpected opportunities. 

 click to see any of the images on this pagelarger
(Below is a letter I was asked to write on his behalf)
John Wolfer has developed, and continues to develop, a body of work that captivates, provokes and entertains.  His paintings depicting still scenes of under the meat counter have, at first glance, a seemingly serious still-life realist agenda.  It’s after one’s eye travels through this painted space that a humor and affection for the subject emerge.  Inclusion of what is normally overlooked such as the text in price signs next to the subject for sale, acts as subtle hint towards a more whimsical reading of these images of slaughtered animal parts.

Pushing further, John explores subtleties that seduce the viewer with the color and patterns of raw meat.  His spirals of tubular ground meat produce a decorative design that few can ignore.  The map-like patterns of marbleized steaks and chops are blunt reminders of the individuality of each piece of meat.  This keeps the subject from being reduced to simply stylized icons.  The presentation and detail provided creates abstractions of the subject’s beauty and forces the audience to address meat on various levels that they likely have not previously explored. 
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The humor and edge of voice seems to result from John’s incorporation of text and printed image combined with the meat.  His work has expanded, referring to the consumer – commercial side of our relationship with meat.  The images present an ambiguous attitude that is open to multiple readings.  The possibility of the playfulness of this side of John’s work has undeniably opened up new dialogues and extended the likely-hood of who is engaged as an attentive audience.

You can see more of his meat paintings here