James Welling (born 1951, Hartford, CT; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA).
“When I started working at MoMA , I was making abstract photographs. But I was looking at lots of architectural photographs in the files and learning about architecture from the collection. […] After working at MoMA, I was very, very interested in Mies. […] Then, jumping forward eighteen years, in 2006 I did a show at Donald Young in Chicago and made another pilgrimage, this time to see Mies’s Farnsworth House. When I saw it, I completely fell for it. I went back a month later and took photographs. At the time, I was making multiple exposure photographs using six colored filters (red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, and yellow) and I photographed Farnsworth this way.[…]
You approach the Farnsworth House through the woods. It’s completely magical to arrive at this glowing, transparent house that you’ve glimpsed through the trees, with a big travertine deck, the beautiful stairs, and the incredible interior. I remember taking a slew of pictures at Farnsworth because it was just so beautiful sitting there in this green landscape. I didn’t want to leave it. At the time, I thought that it was a perfect building in the landscape. Three months later, I visited the Glass House. For some reason, I never bothered to look at photographs of the Glass House before I got there. I thought of it as a very conceptual house; I knew it was just a glass box. When you first see the Glass House, it looks almost crude. There’s no beautiful deck as there is at Farnsworth. The Glass House, which is much bigger than it appears, sits directly on a brick base on the earth. And right behind you, as you look at the Glass House from the classic viewpoint, is the Brick House, a completely windowless facade that stands like a brutal, impenetrable structure in contrast to the Glass House. As I worked on the property, I began to appreciate the simplicity and brutality of these two buildings, and became hooked on the Glass House over the sophistication of Farnsworth.” – James Welling, in conversation with Sylvia Lavin, 2011