Jim Whitty is an artist based in Somerset UK
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My paintings are primarily a visual experience, so I find it difficult to write much about them. A lot of them are pretty large – 140x190cm being a common size with some of the Triptychs and Diptychs reaching 4 or 5m, so seeing them on a screen doesn’t give the immersive feeling that you get from standing in front of them in real life.
As I’m sure is apparent, I draw on landscape and nature as my main inspirations. I love exploring, discovering secret, overlooked places off the beaten track. I’ll spend hours pouring over maps, following the course of a river or coastline on google, following my nose down a promising looking lane, or simply taking the dog for a run though the woods. These explorations revive a natural wonder for the world around us I have had since early childhood, and its often fleeting experiences at particular moments of transitional light, that provides the spark for a painting. I might use a photo, a memory, imagination, or even a dream as the starting point, but the process of painting can completely change the direction it goes in. Thats one of the things I love about it. Playing with paint is a fun and messy experiment, its endlessly surprising. Seemingly random marks can build with rhythm and scale to create a sense of space. The canvas moves between the wall and the floor, paint is put on taken off, thrown splattered and glazed in the search for new ways of transferring a sense of energy. Putting more paint on in an attempt to reduce the image to something, that though its simplicity, becomes more absorbing; the eye can rest while the mind wanders, or is it the other way round… Not all are resolved, some leave questions unanswered, just as a half remembered dream does upon waking.
I find both water and trees endlessly facinating, and they lend themselves well to creating dream like spaces, no only because they are loaded with deep rooted mythology and stories, but because of their constantly shifting, immersive qualities. They are places of shelter and calm but also real or imagined danger and mystery. A place to be set adrift from modern life and get lost, enveloped in nature. When sunlight scatters and sparkles across water, or dances through new green leaves, it can lift the soul… These are the fleeting moments I chase.
Early formative years spent between Nigeria, Malawi, Greece, and the Isle of Skye and Cotswolds.
BA Honours Fine Art Glasgow School of Art 1994
Art and Design Foundation studies. Brighton Polytechnic 1989
Permanent collection of the Paisley Art Institute 1993
Royal Society of Arts student show, Edinburgh 1994
Animation Festival, Bremen & Hamburg, Germany 1996
Video installation, Costa Caparica, Portugal. 1996
Will’s Art, Fulham, London. 1997- 03
Cadogan Contemporary. Group shows. 1997- 08.
Watermans Art Centre 1997
106 Gallery, Sclater st. London.E1, 1998
The Rack Gallery, Tyers Gate, London.SE1. 1998
The Barbican VSO Show London 1998
The City Gallery, London. EC2. 1999
An Tuireann Arts Centre, Isle of Skye. 1999
International Art Consultants, London E1 2000,01,02
Mural Commission for HMS President, London 2000
Curated & exibited ‘Lambda’. An Exhibition of light, Rhythm Factory. E1 2001
Solo shows at Cadogan Contemporary. London. 2002, 04, 05, 07, 08
Wylye Valley Art Trail 09, 11
Adam Gallery Solo show Bath 09
Farrington Contemporary Gibraltar solo show 09
Adam Gallery Cork st. London Solo show 2010 2013
Pop gallery, and Rook Lane Arts, Frome 2011
London Art fair Islington 2012 2013
Prizes and commissions:
Winner of the Student Award, The Scottish Drawing Competition 1993
Winner of Conchita Moore Memorial prize, Watermans Art Centre1997
Year of the Artist/ NWAB commission to redesign the look of the theatre touring ship – the Fitzcoraldo, for Walk the Plank 2001.