Published by Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Text by Kathryn Kanjo, Robert Storr, Quincy Troupe.
For five decades, New York-based artist Jack Whitten (born 1939) has explored the possibilities of paint, the role of the artist and the allure of materials. As a child of the segregated South, he bears witness to expressions of evil and the resilience of the human spirit. From his first spectral canvases to his recent mosaic canvases, Whitten's compelling compositions have spanned a half-century of artistic innovation. Showcasing approximately 60 canvases, this survey--the first substantial volume on the artist--reveals Whitten as an innovator who uses abstraction in its newest idioms to achieve an enduring gravitas. Whitten's abiding engagement with scientific systems (as structure), social issues (as evidence) and commitment to the power of visual expression (materiality) show him to be an artist both of his time and for the present.