Happening 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excellent artwork books” caught my eye: a quote from the late artist Jack Whitten, through which he stated, “The outdated symbols that we had from earlier established faith, they’re not working anymore for this society.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 to invent new symbols.” That could 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 concept, or the portray being the illustration of an thought … it’s all in regards to the materiality of the paint.” This acquired me pondering, as a result of in my very own portray currently, I’ve been portray extra individuals, extra moments, capturing occasions for my reminiscence, and this concept of Whitten’s artwork being in regards to the supplies, the floor, and seeing close-ups of his work, I believed, that’s greater than sufficient, I’m very engaged together with his surfaces and his supplies. With out happening 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 certain I noticed the exhibition with among the works proven within the video, and certain 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 possibly can see the gallery’s archive of the show on their website here, however I’ll additionally embrace a pair images 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 collection titled “Black Monolith,” which memorializes essential black artists, writers, thinkers, and poets. I like the piece, but it surely brings up an attention-grabbing concept that looks like an preliminary battle: he stated that he doesn’t make a portray that’s an illustration of an thought, but that is an summary “portrait” of Muhammad Ali, which is in some methods his illustrated thought, 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 certain I’ve seen different work by Jack Whitten since then, there’s one thing more-recent than nearly 6 years in the past that’s registering with me, and certain 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 nicely now, being actually drawn in to view the work up shut, to soak up all the 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 get pleasure from later – equivalent to now! I can’t discover the title of this primary piece I’m sharing from that present, however I find it irresistible: from the entrance, it may be seen, maybe, as an “picture,” however the aspect view positively makes it an object with a strong presence. I like the completely different colours of tiles, and the concept the brilliant purple tiles on the aspect are solely on the aspect, like one has to make their approach across the object, all the sides of this object, to soak up 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 embrace this subsequent set up view, additionally from the 2020 present, for instance how the works are usually not all rectangular or easy “portrait or panorama” proportions however reasonably 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. Picture taken by Artsology, all artworks are © Jack Whitten Property.

So, to circle again to my title for this weblog put up, 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 all the 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 be taught extra in regards to the artist Jack Whitten, check out all of the related content on the Hauser & Wirth website here.