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The Kid From Red Bank: The Count

1985
Acrylic and oil on canvas
Unique
227.3 x 227.3 cm / 89 1/2 x 89 1/2 in

Jack Whitten

Born in Bessemer, Alabama in 1939, Jack Whitten is celebrated for his innovative processes of applying paint to the surface of his canvases and transfiguring their material terrains. Although Whitten initially aligned with the New York circle of abstract expressionists active in the 1960s, his work gradually distanced from the movement’s aesthetic philosophy and formal concerns, focusing more intensely on the experimental aspects of process and technique that came to define his practice.

The Kid From Red Bank: The Count

Striking in scale and mesmerising in texture, ‘The Kid From Red Bank: The Count’ is an outstanding example of Whitten’s series of circular acrylic and oil reliefs. Created after a three-year hiatus in his practice, following a devastating studio fire in 1980, this series marks a prolific new phase in Whitten’s oeuvre. To create these works, Whitten began using small, self-designed tools to incise arcs, lines and circles into quarter-inch thick acrylic planes. At this time, Whitten started using a paintbrush again too, embracing the gesture of the hand that he had abandoned in the 1970s.

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In the Studio: Jack Whitten

Jack Whitten talks about his life and work in his studio in Queens, New York, on the occasion of his exhibition ‘More Dimensions Than You Know: Jack Whitten, 1979 – 1989’ at Hauser & Wirth London in 2017. Celebrated for his innovative processes of applying and transfiguring paint in works alert to politics, identity, and societal coordinates, Whitten holds a unique place in the narrative of postwar American art.

Arshile Gorky & Jack Whitten

Two consummate master artists of the 20th century are shown together in this online exhibition inspired by Whitten himself, who paid tribute to Gorky in a speech he gave in 2017. Whitten described the experience of looking at Gorky’s work as, ‘witnessing something that comes from the deep soul of an artist.’

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