Fred Wessel received a BFA from Syracuse University in 1968, and an MFA from University of Massachusetts eight years later.
His practice has been most profoundly affected by a two week trip to Italy in 1984, where he studied the Renaissance Masters. He laments the negative connotations the word ‘precious’ has been bestowed by art critics since the Bauhaus period of the 1960s. ‘In our search for novelty, we have lost touch with some essential basics: beauty, grace, harmony and visual poetry,’ he says.
In his own work, Wessel assimilates the harmony and beauty of early Renaissance painters, and most notably Fra Angelico, Duccio and Simone Martini. ‘I could not have predicted the dramatic impact this journey would have on my work,’ Wessel remarks. Likewise, he advocates that all visual artists should take the opportunity to experience Renaissance painting first-hand.