Alice Wheeler | Additional Work

Wheeler’s photographs have been published in news magazines such as Newsweek, Time, and Life as well as music rags such as Rolling Stone, Mojo or Spin and alternative lifestyle journals such as Out. Wheeler’s photographs have illustrated various recent books covering the Seattle rock scene, such as Rolling Stone’s Women in Rock (1998). She was featured in Nick Broomfield’s controversial documentary film “Kurt and Courtney.” Several of Wheeler’s photographs are included in Heavier Than Heaven, the recent best selling biography of Kurt Cobain by Charles Cross.

For her second one-person exhibition with the Gallery (July 2002), Wheeler exhibited new photographs exposing the many ways members of Seattle’s various subcultures 'dress up.' Cleverly titled, All About Evil (a play on the multiple-personalities Bette Davis character in the 1950 movie “All About Eve”), Wheeler’s exhibition explores the many roles we assume, or hope to assume, when we put on a mask or a don a costume — be it a drag queen or a devil, a cross-dresser or a Courtney Love wannabe.

Over the past several decades, Wheeler has photographed a number of crucial phenomena from her distinct and personal perspective as a documentarian. As a young female photographer jockeying for position in a predominately male world of photographers and musicians, Wheeler began to record the punk, grunge, and, perhaps most singularly, the Riot Grrrl rock scene within the burgeoning, alternative rock music scene in the Northwest. Her photographs of Kurt Cobain and others helped to define the Seattle rock scene for audiences who loved the music and for those who thought it was just noise she made it more personal. With this earlier group of photographs, Wheeler focuses her camera on the post "Kurt-N-Courtney" world where the two stars now live in the men (and sometimes women) in costume and drag like in Genderfuck Courtney, 2002 (shown further down the page). Posing as the rock stars these nightclub characters dress the part of Kurt™s ghost or Courtney in her trashy, "fuck you" period...the pre-Hollywood time...the Hole days. Wheeler captures the moment and attitude in these larger-than-life sized color works. She also begins a new series of costumed individuals called The Devil Made Me Do It, 2002 showing the many interpretations of the subject by Halloween revelers. Even Wheeler gets into the act with the sly Self-Portrait as the Wicked Witch of the West, 2002.





BELMONT AND DENNY WAY, 2010
Inkjet print
27 x 40 inches
Edition of 3




DELRIDGE PARK IN THE SNOW, 2010
Inkjet print
27 x 40 inches
Edition of 3




APPLE BLOSSOM QUEEN AT THE DAFFODIL PARADE, TACOMA 2003
Chromogenic prints, 24 x 19 inches
Edition of 3
$1,400.




AFTER NIRVANA, 1993
Printed in 2002, Chromogenic print
30 x 20 inches, Edition of 10
$1,600.



WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER, OCTOBER 5, 2006
Chromogenic print, 24 x 19 inches
Edition of 3
$1,400.




PEACHES AT EXPERIENCE MUSIC PROJECT, SEATTLE 2004
Chromogenic prints, 19 x 24 inches
Edition of 3
$1,400.



GIRL WITH ORANGE HAIR, HEMPFEST, SEATTLE, 2006
Chromogenic print, 24 x 19 inches
Edition of 3
$1,400.




KELLY O AT HOME, SEATTLE 2004
Printed in 2006, Chromogenic print, 24 x 19 inches
Edition of 3
$1,400.




TESS AT WTO ANNIVERSARY, 2000
Printed in 2006, Chromogenic print, 19 x 24 inches
Edition of 3
$1,400.




BOY WITH RABBIT EARS, MONROE 2006
Printed in 2006, Chromogenic print, 24 x 19 inches
Edition of 3
$1,400.



COURTNEY ARMY and UNTITLED (YELLOW CITYSCAPE), 2002
RA-type color photograph, 40 x 30 inches each, Edition of 3
$2,000. each, unframed

The voyeuristic thrust of these photographs is strong. Some are straight-forward portraits in all their made-up glory while others are more candid as she sneaks a shot of two leather boys in a sexual tryst on the dance floor (below). Click to enlarge the thumbnail image.

Wheeler also focuses on other body-altering techniques such as piercings and tattoos. In an especially poignant piece, Memorial Tattoo for Twin Brother, 2002 (below) Wheeler photographs a young man with a tattoo-portrait of his brother on his arm with the words, To Live is to Suffer tattooed beneath.



MEMORIAL TATTOO FOR A TWIN BROTHER
and SELF-PORTRAIT AS THE WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST, 2002
RA-type color photographs, 40 x 30 inches each, Edition of 3
$2,000. each, unframed

Wheeler was born in 1961 in Kansas City, MO. She was raised in Ralston, Nebraska, a suburb of Omaha. Wheeler came to the Northwest (via California) as a young adult. She gravitated to Seattle in 1981 and then Olympia in 1985 for higher education as a painter and then, almost by chance, as a photographer. When Wheeler left Evergreen State College with a BA degree in 1988, she began a serious career as a photographer with an exhibit at the Mazey Hickey Gallery in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle. Wheeler has shown numerous times at various Seattle galleries since then, and, most notably, in a group show entitled “Hereabouts,” curated by Trevor Fairbrother, at the Seattle Art Museum. Her work is in the public collections of The Henry Gallery at the University of Washington, and The Experience Music Project.

She also recently completed a series of costumed individuals called The Devil Made Me Do It (seen below). The idea of the devil is interpreted quite uniquely in her subjects and Wheeler is there to capture it all on film.


Click to enlarge any image below:


THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT PART I, II and III, 2002
RA-type color photographs, 40 x 30 inches each, Edition of 3
$2,000. each, unframed




SISTER OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE, GENDERFUCK KURT and GENDERFUCK COURTNEY, 2002
RA-type color photographs, 40 x 30 inches each, Edition of 3
$2,000. each, unframed




CHRISTIAN, HOUSE OF EVIL and WHAT WOMEN SEE AT NIGHT, 2002
RA-type color photographs, 40 x 30 inches each, Edition of 3
$2,000. each, unframed




WHEELER, ALICE EXCALIBUR, LAS VEGAS,
NEVADA, JUNE 25, 1999
Chromogenic print 20 x 30 inches Edition of 20
$1,600. unframed




WHEELER, ALICE HOUSE OF EVIL 2002
Chromogenic print 30 x 40 inches
Edition of 3 $2,000. unframed




NEAH BAY, WASHINGTON, AUGUST 26,1999
Chromogenic print 20 x 30 inches
Edition of 20
$1,600. unframed

Review: Wheeler's lens finds poetry in cheap charm
by Regina Hackett, Art Critic, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Friday, March 3, 2000

Through bugs smeared on a windshield, you can see a full moon. It's a pale white disc in Alice Wheeler's haunting photograph of an Oregon beach town, part of her exhibit at the Greg Kucera Gallery. In Wheeler's version of the town, there's a vacancy at its center. The scattering of houses lining the road looks cramped on their wide lots and gives off little light. The action's overhead, with a darkening tumble of blue-black clouds.

Before Wheeler was born, Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand had perfected the art of shooting through car windows. The device isn't new, but Wheeler uses it for her own ends, turning an ordinary town in to a gap on the map and flinging black-and-blue bruises into the sky.
Left: Neah Bay Canoe, 2000

Now in her early 40s, Wheeler began her career photographing Seattle's alternative rock scene as it rose to national prominence. She didn't just document the pulse of the period, she helped create it, with jittery form and bright, woozy color. Currently, she's doing for the West what William Eggleston did for the South. She finds poetry in her region's cheap charm and a blind kind of valor in its endless manifestations of bad taste.

All the photos from her last show are C-type color prints, either 30 inches high and 20 inches wide or the reverse. 'Halloween on Broadway, Seattle Washington, 1998' is a tribute to three teenaged boys decked out in death-mask face paint and riding in a gloriously old, purple Pontiac.



HALLOWEEN ON BROADWAY, SEATTLE 1998; TACOMA, WASHINGTON, 1998; and DUWAMISH RIVER, SEATTLE, FEBRUARY 1999
All printed in 2000 C-type color photographs, 20 x 30 inches each
Edition of 10, $1,600. each, unframed

Wheeler shot 'Tacoma, Washington, 1998' kneeling on a stage, looking up at two bunglers in ski masks who'll do anything for attention. One lights the shirt he's wearing on fire, and the other, impassive, watches it burn. Crisp and vivid in this soggy scene, the flame mocks the idea of redemption.

'Duwamish River, Seattle, Washington, February 1999' is a wide shot of the muddy old river running south of the Seattle skyline. Nearly solid enough to be a path, Wheeler's river is a paved-over part of an unnatural world.

Looking down on St. George, Utah