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Jack Whitten

Sphinx Alley III, 1975

Acrylic on canvas
73 × 84 in
185.4 × 213.4 cm
location
Minneapolis
About the work
Articles
Walker Art Center
Minneapolis
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Private Collection

Private Collection

Image rights
©Jack Whitten/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Jack Whitten
American, b. 1939
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Early on, Jack Whitten was influenced by both the Bauhaus and Abstract Expressionism, but after meeting William de Kooning the balance tilted toward the latter. Blending figuration and abstraction, Whitten’s emotionally riveting gestural works—including a series on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—touched upon the racial turmoil he understood so well as an African American from the South. The 1970s marked a stylistic rupture, after which Whitten endeavored to define “a new spatial perception” by “experimenting with the possibilities of paint without imposing the added burden of psychological implications.” In this vein, he began to draw large fields of color across his canvases with Afro combs, squeegees, and homemade rakes to create what he called “Energy Fields”. Whitten’s recent experimentations take the form of mosaics, wherein he transforms paint compounds into tiles and applies them to canvas.

Save
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view
View in room
share
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Save
Save
view
View in room
share
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About the work
Articles
Walker Art Center
Minneapolis
Follow

Private Collection

Private Collection

Image rights
©Jack Whitten/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Jack Whitten
American, b. 1939
Follow

Early on, Jack Whitten was influenced by both the Bauhaus and Abstract Expressionism, but after meeting William de Kooning the balance tilted toward the latter. Blending figuration and abstraction, Whitten’s emotionally riveting gestural works—including a series on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—touched upon the racial turmoil he understood so well as an African American from the South. The 1970s marked a stylistic rupture, after which Whitten endeavored to define “a new spatial perception” by “experimenting with the possibilities of paint without imposing the added burden of psychological implications.” In this vein, he began to draw large fields of color across his canvases with Afro combs, squeegees, and homemade rakes to create what he called “Energy Fields”. Whitten’s recent experimentations take the form of mosaics, wherein he transforms paint compounds into tiles and applies them to canvas.

Jack Whitten

Sphinx Alley III, 1975

Acrylic on canvas
73 × 84 in
185.4 × 213.4 cm
location
Minneapolis
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