March-April 2018 Issue of Inside Northside Magazine

Page 18

Shattering the Single Point of View by Linda T. Dautreuil

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 the weather is grey in anticipation of the next cold front, the vibrancy of what life in the studio means to this man and his work is evident before a word is exchanged. His most recent paintings on paper line the walls of his workspace. They are expansive, and each invites multiple interpretations. Unframed, rich black lines enclose an array of shapes and washes of color, pushing and pulling the viewer’s eye beyond the borders into the world from which the images spring. Inevitably, the eye returns for more. Accomplishing such a feat is a complex endeavor. It requires a deep and abiding connection between the artist’s interior experiences and the conviction that connecting to the exterior world is essential nourishment for his work. Whiteman’s process is rooted in respect for humble materials. He is not seeking perfection in a 18

Inside Northside

conventional sense. He is drawn to weathered things, wounded inanimate objects, once functional and enduring over time. As Whiteman speaks, my eye returns to the wheelbarrow. What first appeared to be a bundle of twigs is a collection of rusty shapes snipped and repurposed by Whiteman from metal fencing. The variety of shapes appear to form a jumbled, three-dimensional vocabulary, a visual stimulus for Whiteman’s interaction with materials and form during his decision-making process. He considers the shape and scale of each in relation to the size of the heavyweight Arches paper placed on the floor. Using black oil sticks and translucent tracing papers, Whiteman draws the chosen rusty shapes, then places the drawings on the heavyweight paper, shifting them about and pushing them to the point where content and materials come together in a satisfactory arrangement. Water baths are essential in various stages of reconstituting the paper, creating texture and dimension. Once the drawings are transferred, the paper is completely submerged >>


Cover Artist Edward R. Whiteman

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