Wes Magyar paints in a really realistic style. He uses people he knows as models. In his show, “Remnants”, he cast two photographers he knew. They have long beards, wear suits and carry spears and a saw.
For Magyar, it is about doing what you have to do to survive. Even if you seem evolved above that. Even though you work at a desk, you still have to gather your food. That’s what the spears are for.
“You’re doing something that makes things happen, but it’s not like building a house, where you say ‘oh, here’s the house I built,’” Magyar says.
And to display that, Magyar paints pieces of paper. Some crumpled up. Some folded into flowers. Some spilling out of briefcases. It is something that he hopes resonates. As they say, pictures are worth a thousand words.
“There’s some truth to that, but your thousand words and thousand words are going to be different," says Magyar. "Maybe when I was younger, I’d be frustrated by that, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve flipped and decided that I’ve really started enjoying when someone comes up to me with this really long story about what they think the painting is about.”
It is those stories that he says he grew up loving. When people would fill in the blanks that are left unfilled. He says as a member of the “Star Wars” generation, he saw this happen early on in his life.
“People get really invested in that and they’re really curious about the story," says Magyar. "They create their own stories about how these characters come together, and what happens that you never see in the film, or the backstory. I find that kind of wonderful that it’s taken on a life of its own.”
When he was younger, Magyar wanted things to be all summed up into one little package. Now that’s changed. He has grown comfortable with the mystery and the unanswered questions that come out of things not being explained.
“You think about a film that you see that has a lot of mystery to it, and you leave that film with all those questions," says Magyar. "For some people that’s frustrating, but for me those are the best moments, when I have that sense of wonder and mystery with things.”
You can see “Remnants” and those bearded men at Anderson Ranch Arts Center through the end of the month.