Alexander Gray Associates
In the exhibition, small-scale paintings Ribbons of Honor (2009), demonstrates Jack Whitten’s ability to shock and awe with color, surface tension and geometry. In these works, described by the artist as “acrylic collages”, mixed-media and acrylic surfaces are adhered to painted panels. With geometric designs inspired by the modular forms of military ribbons, the soft pink under-glow of the verso of the panels offer a tension with the bold colors, glossy and shimmering ornamentation of the poured acrylic surfaces.
Providing grounding for these sculptural paintings, works from the late 1970s and mid-1980s were also on exhibit. In Persian Echo I and Persian Echo II (1979), black and white decorative patterns create a moire-effect over softer pillows of color, juxtaposing optical tricks and impressionistic abstraction. In Ancient Mentor (1985), a pixelated grid of pressed paint is treated with color, resulting in a play with Pointillism and computer circuitry. The exhibition was further punctuated with a new black and white painting, employing Whitten’s signature tessare forms, titled Lateral Shift (2008). This work, with its strong linear forms, recalls Whitten’s Theta series from the late 1970s, and draws inspiration from the 2008 presidential election.