A lot of artists don’t enjoy explaining themselves. They like making work; they don’t like talking about it.
William Wegman is not one of those people.
The artist, who is best known for making outrageous photos of his weimaraner dogs in unlikely poses, last year mounted a major semi-retrospective at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. “Hello Nature” went far beyond the weimaraners and included photos, drawings, paintings and journals from throughout his long career.
The show had strong Maine connections, because it was in Maine that Wegman discovered and nurtured his love for the outdoors. He has a place in Rangeley, and spends as much time in Maine as he can.
As he led gallery talks and tours, he found that he learned a lot about his work.
It was for that reason that he readily accepted an invitation to kick off the Visiting Artist Summer Lecture Series at Maine College of Art. He speaks at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at MECA’s Osher Auditorium.
The MECA lecture series brings high-profile artists to campus, who then immerse themselves as members of the community.
They work with students pursuing master’s degrees, and the lecture series gives the public a chance to participate.
“These talks give me the opportunity to re-examine what I am doing,” Wegman said by phone from his studio in New York. “Sometimes I make up fabulous stories that have insights into my work and sometimes lead to another step. It’s a way of pushing yourself, in a way.
“It’s almost like a stand-up comic that is given a suggestion from the audience. By outing yourself in front of people, you are forced to go beyond what you might have been mulling over.”
Thursday’s talk will include a PowerPoint tour of Wegman’s career from the 1960s to the present, with the opportunity for a back-and-forth with the audience.
Wegman still hears a lot of feedback from the Bowdoin exhibition, which closed last fall.
“Hello Nature” received national attention, and he found himself talking about a much wider range of his work than he is accustomed to — and with many more people than he ever imagined.
“I met a lot of really amazing people during my Bowdoin experience, including Barry Mills, president of the college, and a lot of collectors who have my work, and writers and curators. It was the happiest show I have ever had,” he said. “My father came to that show. He is 91 and can’t really see. So it was a tremendous experience for me.”
“Hello Nature” has since moved to a museum in Sweden.
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or: