AMERICAN, b. 1955
Wool is best known for his paintings of large, black, stenciled letters on white canvases. Wool began to create word paintings in the late 1980s, reportedly after having seen graffiti on a brand new white truck. Using a system of alliteration, with the words often broken up by a grid system, or with the vowels removed (as in ‘TRBL’ or ‘DRNK’), Wool’s word paintings often demand reading aloud to make sense. From the early 1990s through the present, the silkscreen has been a primary tool in Wool’s practice. In his abstract paintings Wool brings together figures and the disfigured, drawing and painting, casual impulses and well thought-out ideas. He draws lines on the canvas with a spray gun and then, directly after, wipes them out again with a rag drenched in solvent to give a new picture in which clear lines have to stand their own against smeared surfaces.
Wool is best known as a painter, he has amassed a large body of black-and-white photographs taken at night in the streets. Wool made his own painting using words and went on to make paintings with big, black stenciled letters saying things like ‘Run Dog Run’ or ‘Sell the House, Sell the Car, Sell the Kids.’ The paintings captured the scary, euphoric mood of a high-flying period not unlike our own.