Jack Whitten


acrylic and polyurethane on panel
16 x 20 inches

New York artist Jack Whitten has been making pivotal abstract paintings since the 1960s, and to this day continues to explore and create cutting edge, process-driven work. Whitten now omits the brush from his practice, stating “I cut paint, I laminate paint, I grind paint, I freeze paint, I boil paint,” just naming a few of his radical techniques. In Space Busters II, Whitten uses a unique translucent mixture of acrylic paint and polyurethane to cast multiple hemispherical reliefs from everyday objects. The final painting creates an amazing, yet strange, spatial juxtaposition for the viewer, a unique feeling that has been the impetus for most of Jack Whitten’s artistic pursuits. Whitten’s work was exhibited in the 1969 and 1972 Whitney Biennials; the landmark 1971 exhibition Contemporary Black Artists in America at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction 1964–1980 at The Studio Museum in Harlem; and High Times Hard Times: New York Painting 1967–1975, organized by Independent Curators International; Blues for Smoke, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and The Encyclopedic Palace at the 55th Venice Biennale. Recent solo exhibitions include P.S.1/MoMA Center for Contemporary Art, New York, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and Savannah College of Art and Design. Whitten’s work will be the subject of solo shows Light Years: Jack Whitten, 1971–1973 at the Rose Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, and Jack Whitten: Evolver at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield. A retrospective exhibition of Whitten’s work will be presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, in fall 2014.