Homage to Bob
05 - 26 May 2016
Painter Jon Wealleans’ new work is a collection of pieces each inspired by the song titles of Bob Dylan’s music. Bob Dylan has written and recorded over 500 songs, giving Wealleans an overwhelming amount of material to choose from. Most of the songs that are reflected in these paintings are taken from Dylan's 'middle period' (some call it his amphetamine phase) and were released on the LP albums 'Bringing it all Back Home', 'Blonde on Blonde' and 'John Wesley Harding'.
Wealleans has drawn upon songs such as the acid drenched 'Gates of Eden', the strange and haunting 'I Dreamed I saw St Augustine' as well as one of the traditional folk songs included in Dylan’s recordings, 'Corrina Corrina'. For this, Wealleans uses the setting of the old Pennsylvania Station, New York. This was demolished in 1963, the same year as the release of the album ‘The Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan’, on which the song ‘Corinna, Corinna’ was featured.
For each individual, the words within Dylan’s lyrics are accompanied by their own personal interpretation. Through Wealleans’ paintings, these half visualised characters, stories or settings, are realised, given form and brought to life.
'Mr Tambourine Man' is a character that Wealleans sees as a shaman-like Pied Piper figure. “As a figurative painter, I have to put a face to him which may be different from the trope that the song conjures up for you.”
Similarly, Wealleans’ interpretation of 'Highway 61' is a very personal one to him. A street inhabited by animals made from tiny toy building bricks will differ from the scene imagined by others, but Wealleans is careful to not be too literal with the lyrics and the place he has depicted is undoubtedly appropriate to the song - clearly one where strange and surreal things happen.
Dylan’s lyrics are enigmatic, thought provoking and beautifully crafted in their poetry. This collection of paintings by Wealleans is a fitting match of these qualities in their reflection of, and homage to, Bob.