Written by Linda T. Dautreuil for Inside Pub, photos by Candra George THE RUSTY WHEELBARROW with unusually straight legs resting on small wheels would be the focal point in Dove Cote Studio were it not for the large collection of recent paintings on reconstituted paper by visual artist Edward R. Whiteman. On a day when…
“Dreams from the bristles of the artist’s brush… I probe be yond the confines of the finite to create an infinity…Living dreams.” Arshile Gorky’s words, in 1942, at the start of his late, most eloquent, phase. The quote occurred to me during my initial visit to Edward Whiteman’s new exhibition of abstract pictographs (recently at Arthur Roger); it returned during my second.
Ed Whiteman decided at age 17, that he wanted to be a painter, a decision that he describes as “very immediate.” It came to him in a flash one day when he was a commercial art student in upstate New York as he was looking through a book of paintings by the Zen- influenced Morris Graves. “It mirrored perfectly my experience with nature,” says Whiteman. “Up to that point I wasn’t aware there was such a thing as fine art or painting. When I saw Graves’ work I said ‘I can do that.’ In the next year and a half I painted more blind bird paintings than you could shake a stick at.”
If the term “works on paper” conjures images of intimately scaled art objects — from postage stamps to origami sculptures—then it’s time for you to visit Edward Whiteman’s splendid new installation of wall-sized mixed media drawings at Arthur Roger Gallery, 432 Julia St.
Few people confronting Edward Whiteman’s “reconstructed” paper-and-canvas sculptures for the first time would suspect that they were inspired by New Orleans.
The stony-looking relief pieces are irregularly contoured collages, combining torn sheets of creased and stained paper with fragments of rumpled canvas, also stained and in addition painted with bold hieroglyphic markings, usually in red. What connections could these venerable even archeological-locking sculptures possibly have with New Orleans?