Wheaton Conversations: Allan Wexler & Virgil Marti

Wheaton Conversations:
Allan Wexler & Virgil Marti

Watch the Oct. 29, 2020 recording above

Allan Wexler and Virgil Marti each create installations that ask their viewers to reconsider the relationship between the fine and applied arts. Their work stems from their astute observations of our built environment’s aesthetics – making them ideal artists to work with the WheatonArts Glass Studio and Museum of American Glass for the Emanation project.

Join Allan and Virgil as they discuss their experiences exploring the use of glass to express their ideas, their approaches to creating work that sits at the perceived boundaries of multiple disciplines, and what the COVID-19 situation means as they each evolve their practice.

This event is part of “Wheaton Conversations,” a new virtual series highlighting select artists with ties to WheatonArts! To see the full schedule of conversations, Click Here. 

Headshot of Artist Allan Wexler.

Allan Wexler has worked in the fields of architecture, design, and fine art for forty-five years. 

Wexler’s career resists easy classification. In the late 1960s, he was an early member of the group of architects and artists who questioned the perceived divide between art and the design disciplines. They called themselves non-architects or paper architects. 

The subject of Wexler’s work is the built environment. He creates drawings, multimedia objects, images, and installations that alter perceptions of domestic activities. He investigates eating, bathing, sitting, and socializing, and turns these everyday activities into ritual and theater. 

Artist Virgil Marti looks at a piece of translucent blue glass that he is holding. In front of him are several pieces of thick glass in different colors.

Philadelphia-based artist Virgil Marti infuses objects of taste, high culture, and aesthetic excess with allusions to his first loves, as cultivated in a suburban, crafts-based world of macramé, giant Lucite grapes, and black-light posters. That these worlds eventually collide, rendering their socioeconomic origins indistinguishable, is the logical expression of his artistic project.

After attending Skowhegan in 1990, Marti worked for many years as a master printer and project coordinator at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. His work was included in The Jewel Thief at The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum (2010), La Biennale de Montréal (2007), Whitney Biennial 2004, and Apocalyptic Wallpaper at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (1997). Collaborative projects and solo exhibitions include Forest Park at Locks Gallery, Philadelphia (2014); Set Pieces at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2010), Ah! Sunflower at the Visual Art Center, Richmond, VA (2008), Directions: Virgil Marti/Pae White at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. (2007); Green Winter, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York (2006); Grow Room at Participant Inc, New York (2002); Holly Solomon Gallery (1999); and Hot Tub at Thread Waxing Space (1998). He received his BFA from the School of Fine Arts, Washington University (1984), and MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University (1990).

Marti’s 2013-14 exhibition, MATRIX 167: Ode to a Hippie at the Wadsworth Atheneum, drew parallels between Romantic poet John Keats and artist Paul Thek, and posed an ambitious follow-up to his 2009 Set Pieces, curated for the ICA Philadelphia by Marti from the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (or, more precisely, their storage facility of furniture and decorative arts). Based upon the RISD Museum of Art’s 1969 RAID THE ICEBOX 1 with Andy Warhol, Marti was also given the task of drawing from the holdings of a major museum collection. 

Bio for Virgil Marti written by Lia Gangitano.

Images: Allan Wexler prototyping a piece created with the support of the WheatonArts Glass Studio during his Emanation 2019 residency. Photo courtesy of Allan Wexler. Broken Tulips, 2015, blown and cast glass, steel, made during Virgil Marti’s Emanation 2015 artist residency at WheatonArts. 

Thank you to our sponsor, PNC Arts Alive!

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