Karl Wirsum, as part of the Hairy Who group in the early 1960s developed a style that combines a graphic sensibility–vivid, flat colors, simplified cartoon-like figures–with a sense of humor evident in the works themselves and also in titles that second guess and play with words. Wirsum's work is characterized by visceral imagery and a surrealist quality that lends his figures a wonderful sense of movement. Wirsum remarks on his process, "I think about what part of the body it is [I'm drawing] and how I can make some association to it but bring a strong abstraction." The abstraction in these works often comes about as jarring movements or forms. The artist's attention to movement is not only evident in his figures, but in his ability to move between media as well.
His work will be included in upcoming exhibitions at Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy; The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY; and The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. His work was recently featured in America Is Hard to See at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; What Nerve! at Matthew Marks Gallery and the RISD Museum of Art; Sinister Pop at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Chicago Imagists at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison; Made in Chicago: The Koffler Collection at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; Chicago Imagists: 1966-1973 at Thomas Dane Gallery, London; and Seeing is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
American, b. 1939, based in Chicago, IL.