Art Dealers Association of America
Park Avenue Armory
Park Avenue at 67 Street
New York, NY
Alexander Gray Associates featured 1970s works by Jack Whitten, which embody a key moment in the formal development of Whitten’s work.
Through the 1970s, Whitten’s aesthetic decisions turned toward abstraction and his process exemplified a desire to stretch the limits of paint as medium. Whitten’s non-relational abstract paintings of this period experiment with horizontality as an extension of gesture, with keen interest in exploring the potential for speed and automation, with acrylic as his muse. Working collaboratively with paint manufacturers and activating his knowledge in science and carpentry, Whitten developed new formulations of paint and new methods of painting—implementing tools like squeegees, rakes, and Afro combs—dragging large amounts of acrylic polymers across the canvas with a single gesture.
Beta Group (1976), from Whitten’s Greek Alphabet Series, and Sphink’s Alley III (1975) are triumphs of this process. Investigations of space, paintings such as these break away from traditional concepts of depth and void embedded in traditional two-dimensional compositions, while remaining committed to working within the limitations of the picture plane. Whitten’s works on paper, particularly Study for Greek Alphabet Series (1976), illustrate his process in formation, providing insight into the experimentation at the core of the larger-scale canvases.
Jack Whitten’s innovative process resulted in dense surfaces of rich textures amplified by ghosted geometric forms. As in photography or printmaking, tools are employed to generate a transformative effect upon the surface in a matter of seconds. An enigmatic image of this process, Whitten’s paintings from this period capture the motion, immediacy, and fluidity of Whitten's technique while remaining static, as if stalling time.
About Art Dealers Association of America's Art Show 2014
Gallery presentations at the 26th annual Art Show features thoughtfully curated solo, two-person, and thematic exhibitions by 72 of the leading U.S. art dealers. The Art Show takes place at the historic Park Avenue Armory, with a ticketed Gala Preview on Tuesday, March 4. All ticket proceeds from the gala and run of show benefit Henry Street Settlement, one of New York City’s most effective social services agencies.