"Magic Circles" presents George Widener’s most recent body of work: a visual exploration into the artist’s obsession with time, history, and artificial intelligence.
Widener was born in Cincinnati, Ohio (1962) and was identified as a “lightning calendar calculator” from a young age. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 18 and soon became obsessed with historical dates and automatic memory drawing. Since then, he focused solely on creating a counting system documented in his notebooks—making drawings for more than a decade before anyone saw them. In the late 1990s Widener was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and enrolled in a Tennessee State vocational rehabilitation program, a few years after which he was discovered—leading to the introduction of his work to the art world.
Widener creates mixed-media works on paper featuring bold palettes and patterning. His oeuvre represents a visual exploration of possible numerical systems or mind games based on historical events and dates. Widener has been exhibited extensively worldwide, including “Hiding Places: Memory in the Arts” (John Michael Kohler Arts Center, 2011), “The Alternative Guide to the Universe” (Hayward Gallery, London 2012), and “Secret Universe” (Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin 2013). The artist’s work is in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, D.C.), The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The High Museum of Art (Atlanta, Georgia), The American Folk Art Museum (New York), the Collection de l'art brut (Lausanne, Switzerland), The Kröller-Müller Museum (Otterlo, Netherlands), The Treger Saint Silvestre Collection (João da Madeira, Portugal), and the Hamburger Bahnhof National Museum (Berlin, Germany), among others.