John Wesley is a contemporary American painter and pop artist. Born on November 25, 1928 in Los Angeles, CA, Wesley was a self-taught artist who worked for several years an illustrator for the avian industry. Characterized by his uniquely graphic, flattened Pop paintings, Wesley’s work addresses themes of sexuality and erotica through stylized and symmetrically composed images.
John Wesley traces fashion and news images from books and magazines as the basis for his highly stylized acrylic paintings. Though his paintings are reminiscent of his contemporary Tom Wesselmann, his personal associations were with peers Dan Flavin and Donald Judd, and he was inspired by both the Minimalist and Surrealist movements. Rendered in distinctive pink and blue pastel hues, Wesley repeats the same graphic symbolic images in tessellation-like patterns on his large canvases, and regularly employs leitmotifs like pornography and avian fowl—often to humorous effect—throughout his oeuvre. Rather than critique consumerist culture, Wesley’s cartoonish paintings, inspired to an extent by René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico, celebrate fantasy and express human fears and desires.