William Wahlgren is best known for large-scale minimal landscapes. Using traditional oil painting techniques, the artist varies his practice between highly realistic representations of the natural or built environment to more abstract, minimal and atmospheric work. An extended series of paintings over the last decade involved deeply colored monochromatic explorations of cloudy skies over distant landscapes and low horizons. More recently he has reintroduced the figure into his work with an emphasis on brighter natural light while retaining the essentially contemplative, reflective tone for which he is best known. Whatever its subject matter, theme or evocative nature, his work references a long line of European, Asian and American landscape painting.
Growing up on the edge of Lake Michigan, just north of Chicago, William Wahlgren developed an early attachment to those typically Midwestern landscapes where vast expanses of land and water meet the sky. In, 1996 Wahlgren and his family resettled in Austin where new surroundings have provided an inspiring new dimension of atmosphere and light. Ultimately however, his work is less a naturalistic depiction of a particular landscape than it is a landscape-inspired, inward exploration of limitless, contemplative space.