Jack Whitten: Profile

Jack Whitten, Mask of God I (For Joseph Campbell), 1987, acrylic on canvas (© Ja
Jack Whitten, Mask of God I (For Joseph Campbell), 1987, acrylic on canvas (© Jack Whitten/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/courtesy of the artist, Alexander Gray Associates, New York, and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp)

Alex Greenberger profiles painter Jack Whitten.

Greenberger notes: "By the mid-’70s, Whitten had leapt into total, process-based abstraction, and had even switched media—he stopped working with oil paint all together and took up acrylic because it dried faster. His 'Slab' paintings, the works shown at the Whitney in 1974, were very much of their era, which is to say: messy, and positively overwhelming. This is also a fine way of describing the radical shift that happened over the course of the first decade and a half of Whitten’s career. He’s still trying to find ways of doing this in his newest work, which has referred to the Newtown school shooting and Barack Obama on purely geometric terms. Whitten said, 'I want a worldview that will teach me how to conduct myself in this new world order. That’s what I’m working on.'"

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