In the Wes Lang universe, recurring figures and symbols—horses, reapers, skulls, Native American chiefs, even nods to his favorite painters, country and jazz musicians—serve as emblems in one way or another for freedom and inspiration. References to the Tao Te Ching and the lectures of Ram Dass are scattered throughout the work, revealing a central ethos that underlies the artist’s complex iconography. The repetition of these sometimes paradoxical images and phrases, motifs and mantras, gives Lang’s work a ritualistic aspect seemingly at odds with his eclectic and spontaneous style.
Introduced with an exploratory essay by the critic Arty Nelson, the book draws on more than 25 years’ worth of material, from stark paintings on wood that formed the artist's first exhibition to richly layered oil paintings exhibited in Paris in 2020, and from unpublished pencil drawings to imagery made iconic by his enigmatic commercial collaborations. Oversized and with pull-out gatefold pages, the book is testament to the scope and richness of Lang's work: expansive in its iconography, deceptively intimate in its detail, and juxtaposing a textured, painterly style with a playful acceptance of the diversity of his own influences.