Richard Whitten: Sabbatical Exhibition
April 1 - 19, 2014
Reception: April 3, 5-8 p.m.
Lecture: April 17, 6 p.m.
The paintings that I have completed during the last year set "imagined machines" within Romanesque or Renaissance architecture. I reference Renaissance architecture and use Renaissance painting methods for two purposes: first, to convince the viewer of the "reality" of that which is depicted, and second, to imbue a subject matter that might be taken to be frivolous with a seriousness that is, perhaps, contrary to its nature.
These paintings imply the existence of places and objects of desire that, like the garden in Alice in Wonderland, can be glimpsed but not reached or acquired. I am intensely curious about the nature of the conceptual transformation that occurs when objects that I have constructed are represented as an image. They seem to become heightened in importance – perhaps transformed from a toy to an ideal, a memory or a desire. Perhaps one must ask: Is the experience of "seeing and wanting" superior to "having"?
Ultimately, my paintings are about intellectual play – an impetus for learning and exploration. – Richard Whitten
The exhibition will be documented in a catalog designed by Nancy Bockbrader, professor of graphic design at Rhode Island College, with an essay written by John Yau, professor of art criticism at Rutgers University.
Two lectures are planned for the exhibition. Judith Tolnick, editor in chief of Art New England, will "interview" the artist about his concepts and creative methods on Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. in the gallery. Also, photographer David Demelim will discuss the process of documenting an artist's work over the course of two years (to be scheduled).