Taking place the rabbit gap following Jack Whitten – The Artsology Weblog

I used to be having some espresso and studying the latest issue of Bookforum this morning, and one thing of their protection of “the season’s excellent artwork books” caught my eye: a quote from the late artist Jack Whitten, through which he stated, “The outdated symbols that we had from earlier established faith, they’re not working anymore for this society. We’ve got to invent new symbols.” That may be a fairly daring assertion, so it made me ask myself, who’s Jack Whitten once more?

A Google search introduced me to this video, which dragged my curiosity deeper into what this artist is all about. Even the opening visuals, of him in his painter’s coveralls, or painter’s jumpsuit, the concept making artwork is such an immersive expertise that the paint and different provides covers his complete physique, I’m prepared for extra. Then he says, “I’m not a story painter, I don’t do the thought, or the portray being the illustration of an concept … it’s all concerning the materiality of the paint.” This received me pondering, as a result of in my very own portray recently, I’ve been portray extra folks, extra moments, capturing occasions for my reminiscence, and this concept of Whitten’s artwork being concerning the supplies, the floor, and seeing close-ups of his work, I assumed, that’s greater than sufficient, I’m very engaged along with his surfaces and his supplies. With out occurring too lengthy on all of this, watch the video, after which scroll down for extra.

Watching this video, it jump-started my reminiscence, pondering that I used to be fairly positive I noticed the exhibition with among the works proven within the video, and positive sufficient, again within the winter of 2017, I did see his self-titled present at Hauser & Wirth, “Jack Whitten,” and it was Hauser & Wirth’s first exhibition devoted to his work. You may see the gallery’s archive of the show on their website here, however I’ll additionally embody a pair pictures that I took whereas visiting the present in March of 2017. The primary one right here beneath is a full view and detailed view of “Black Monolith X, Start of Muhammad Ali,” from 2016, from his sequence titled “Black Monolith,” which memorializes necessary black artists, writers, thinkers, and poets. I like the piece, nevertheless it brings up an fascinating concept that seems like an preliminary battle: he stated that he doesn’t make a portray that’s an illustration of an concept, but that is an summary “portrait” of Muhammad Ali, which is in some methods his illustrated concept, or his reflection, or response to the person.

Art by Jack Whitten titled Muhammad Ali
“Black Monolith X, Start of Muhammad Ali,” 2016, by Jack Whitten. Images taken by Artsology on the exhibition; artwork works are © The Jack Whitten Property.

As I’m revisiting the images I took at that 2017 exhibition, my reminiscence is telling me that I’m positive I’ve seen different work by Jack Whitten since then, there’s one thing more-recent than virtually 6 years in the past that’s registering with me, and positive sufficient, I additionally noticed the 2020 exhibition of his work, titled “I Am The Object,” also at Hauser & Wirth. I bear in mind this present fairly effectively now, being actually drawn in to view the work up shut, to soak up the entire particulars. I don’t recall making a connection at the moment between the 2020 present and what I noticed in 2017, however I bear in mind being fairly taken by this present, and took loads of footage to take pleasure in later – comparable to now! I can’t discover the title of this primary piece I’m sharing from that present, however I adore it: from the entrance, it may be seen, maybe, as an “picture,” however the facet view positively makes it an object with a strong presence. I like the totally different colours of tiles, and the concept the brilliant purple tiles on the facet are solely on the facet, like one has to make their manner across the object, the entire sides of this object, to absorb the total expertise.

Jack Whitten art object on view at Hauser and Wirth in 2020
Artwork by Jack Whitten (title unknown to me) at Hauser & Wirth in 2020; Images taken by Artsology on the exhibition; artwork works are © The Jack Whitten Property.

I’ll embody this subsequent set up view, additionally from the 2020 present, for example how the works should not all rectangular or easy “portrait or panorama” proportions however somewhat true objects that department out in several instructions as if they’ve a lifetime of their very own.

installation view of Jack Whitten exhibition in 2020
Set up view of “I Am The Object,” Jack Whitten, at Hauser & Wirth in 2020. Photograph taken by Artsology, all artworks are © Jack Whitten Property.

So, to circle again to my title for this weblog submit, as you’ll be able to see, I actually did fall down a rabbit gap: from {a magazine} article to a video interview to exhibitions from 3 and 6 years in the past and the entire footage I took whereas visiting the exhibitions (many greater than what I’ve proven right here). Now that I’ve put a reputation and a way of the artist to the exhibition recollections floating round in my reminiscence, I’d positively like to check this artist some extra.

To see and study extra concerning the artist Jack Whitten, check out all of the related content on the Hauser & Wirth website here.