Thursday, May 11, 2017

Spreading the Wealth: McWhorter in New York

Spreading the Wealth: McWhorter in New York

By Tom Wachunas

    EXHIBIT: SLOW FORMATIONS, recent oil paintings by Jack McWhorter, at 
THE PAINTING CENTER, 547 WEST 27TH STREET, SUITE 500, NEW YORK, NY 10001 / Exhibition dates: MAY 23 – JUNE 17, 2017 / GALLERY HOURS: TUESDAY - SATURDAY, 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM  / (212) 343 – 1060

   Over the past several years I’ve written here about my ever-deepening appreciation of Jack McWhorter’s work. The following is the catalog essay which I was thrilled and honored to write for his upcoming exhibit in New York.


   Here are enthralling new episodes in Jack McWhorter’s ongoing development of what he has called “…snapshots of structures in flux or becoming.” These structures can be considered as metaphorical suggestions, or models, of entities simultaneously earthbound and cosmological. You could call them arrivals, laden with ample evidence, at once logical and still evolving, of the serpentine paths that led to their current destination, their “look.” That logic and evolution springs from McWhorter’s rudimentary questioning of how to paint, indeed how to see, and often seems to invoke a Cezannesque spirit of painted surface dynamics. His operational methodology weaves together myriad procedures and terrains into discrete paint-on-canvas formations.

   How many ways can paint rest on, or underneath, or be moved across the surface? Classical ideas of gesture and touch come into play. Cognizant of the fluidity and weight of his hand, the differing pressures and motions of his brush to canvas, and the variable viscosity of the paint, McWhorter establishes sets of marks, lines, and washes, often layered – zigzags, diamond shapes, or lozenge units amid ghostly grids – all separate yet inseparable. And essential to the impact of these images is the exhilarating expressivity of color. Call it chromatic drama. McWhorter describes it this way: “My central narrative is to make color come into its own through response to other colors. The paintings start with the stratification of color and paint and the idea you can keep things organized through movement and repetition…”

   These integrated systems of gestural and chromatic configurations can allow all manner of associations. They might indicate tangible, scientific phenomena and structures in the natural world, or signal the subtler workings of life on less visible planes. In any case, McWhorter continues to construct a painterly calligraphy of poetic singularities. In his paintings, the mysterious and the mundane are conflated into elegant coexistence. Here is a harmonious convergence of processes conscious and intuitive, processes both known and on the ephemeral cusp of coming into being.

   (Bio - reprinted from The Painting Center catalog)

   Jack McWhorter received an M.F.A. from Kent State University in 1983. McWhorter was awarded fellowships to attend the Blossom Studio Art Program to study with Elmer Bischoff, Lynda Benglis, Adja Yunkers, Janet Fish, Walter Darby Bannard and Alex Katz. He has been a visiting artist at St. Luca School of Art & Architecture, Brussels, Belgium, The Walworth Barbour American International School in Tel Aviv, and for the Ohio Arts Council. His paintings and works on paper have been exhibited widely including solo and group exhibitions in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Chicago, Flagstaff, New York, Ventura, New Orleans, Beijing, Chengdu, Shijiazhuang, St. Louis, Brussels, Leuven, Overijse, Paris, Glasgow, Tel Aviv and Siena. Since 2000, McWhorter has been Associate Professor of Painting and Coordinator of the Art Department at Kent State University at Stark. He lives and works in Akron with his wife and 2 sons.

   PHOTOS, from top (oil paintings on canvas, 2017): Witch of Atlas; Surveyor’s Map; Serpent Lightning  

No comments: