Wayne Gonzales

Cheering Crowd (2007)

Acrylic on canvas, triptych
84 inches by 252 inches

Located Outside of the Owner’s Club

The biggest difference between watching a game on TV and going to the real thing is the crowd. There is simply no substitute for being there, immersed in the mass of humanity that has gathered to root for the home team.

The differences between first and second-hand experience are the subject of Wayne Gonzales’ Cheering Crowd (2007), a wall-sized canvas in shades of gray that depicts exactly what its title says. To scan it quickly is to see one big crowd, perhaps a section from a stadium like this one. But as the eye glides across the artist’s three-panel painting, it picks up rhythms and settles into patterns. Soon, one notices that the 7-by-21-foot picture is actually three seven-foot-square canvases, each of which depicts the very same scene, a photo Gonzales culled from the Internet.

The repetition recalls Andy Warhol’s early Pop works, which presented multiple images of tabloid news photos, often of disasters and tragedies. Gonzales brings Warhol’s focus on the mechanics of the mass media into the digital age, where the crowds are bigger and the information transmitted much faster. Yet Gonzales makes his paintings slowly, by hand. To view them up close is to see the image disintegrate into an energized field of individual brushstrokes. Simultaneously intimate and anonymous, his art captures the sensation of losing one’s self in a crowd only to find yourself as a part of something bigger, more powerful and profound.

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