Arthur Peña interviews painter Stanley Whitney on the occasion of the exhibition FOCUS: Stanley Whitney recently on view at The Modern, Fort Worth, TX.
Whitney comments: "It happens in the color. People bring their own stories to it and the work allows for them to happen all at once. The titles do that to. Peaches could be about Peaches who was in a shootout with the Panthers in Oakland or could reference a beautiful woman of a certain color who is also hard as nails. There is always a Peaches. I could talk about a reference to a Nina Simone song. There’s lots of ways for these paintings to be read and I want the work to be open with lots of possibilities. I also want people to know who painted them and where they came from. People think they have an idea of what comes out of our community but I’m always surprised by how much actually comes out of ethnic communities. Like, how much music has been created that went on to influence the whole world but then no one got paid. It’s amazing to me what’s come out of Chicago, music that the whole world loved, made the Rolling Stones and yet people never got paid. You know what I mean? I want to have paintings that can bring up different discussions and I want them to live with people and allow them that space to think about all kinds of things. It’s a mental space."