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NEW PRINT LAUNCH | 'MAP OF TIME' BY WHITNEY MCVEIGH

August 27th 2014
Map of Time is our new screenprint by London-based artist Whitney McVeigh. Angie talks more about the piece below.

When we first started showing Whitney McVeigh’s work at Eyestorm, perhaps ten years ago, it was primarily pieces from her ‘Heads’ series, which for her represented “a frailty beneath the complex surface of us all” and drew on references to primitive paintings. A large part of this previous body of work was McVeigh’s interest in what she refers to as our ‘internal landscape’, what makes each of us who we are as individuals, and this idea translates over to her series of black and white ‘abstract’ works she began to produce in the years that followed, and of which the new Eyestorm edition we’re presenting today is part of.

These monochrome works - initially all monoprints - have a certain physicality to them. The absence of colour and the use of only black to make her marks is an essential part of the work for McVeigh due to the fact that there is no reduction process, and while on a residency in China, she noticed the similarities between the pieces she was making and the process of calligraphy, not only due to its monochrome nature, but also the immediacy of the process.

While working with Whitney on this new edition at Jealous Print Studio, I gained a real insight into her working practice and her relationship with the materials she uses to create her art. This is the first time Whitney has produced an original screenprint with Eyestorm, where the marks are made from scratch onto clear plastic true-grain, which is then made into the screen that the ink is pulled through to create the finished result, and I think she particularly enjoyed the hands-on nature of this process.

Working with printmaker Matthew, we spent a day or two at the studio with Whitney. Creating the main form of the image itself was more complex than one may initially think, and although she had worked on the primary image in her own studio, adding additional black ink brought a new dimension as Whitney played with the fluidity of the lines to create the openness and spontaneity the work suggests. Watching her pouring the ink around on the surface of the true-grain sheeting, I got a sense of her tactile way of working as she almost gives the materials a life of their own to create the image as they please. But paired with this unpredictable, ‘Jackson Pollock’ style approach is Whitney’s watchful eye and acute attention to detail. Everything that happens, she sees and scrutinises to make sure it gives the desired effect. A break in a solid line creating a space in the image is discussed and thought about for some time, and each of the natural splashes that have been created by the application of the ink are balanced up and considered.

It’s this combination of chance and carefully considered decision-making that goes into the creation of Whitney’s working practice that makes it so fascinating and there’s a connection here with the human psyche and in a sense a metaphor for life itself. Whitney says she sees this work as “psychological landscapes; maps of time and of the mind, in the sense that each line is almost a capturing of something that pre-exists”. For Whitney, these works, which may at first appear as abstracts, are very much figurative forms, representative of our being, our thoughts and our physical presence. Map of Time, like previous works from the series, suggest a human torso, but not one that has been studied from a life model or a photograph, one that has materialised from a combination of planned and unplanned mark-making. This is reiterated in a piece of writing by JJ Charlesworth about McVeigh’s work called ‘Between bodies and images’: Out of the formless matter of the paint emerge forms which remind us of human beings, forms which suggest the gestures of bodies that are alive with feeling and consciousness.”

Map of Time is released today and is exclusively available at Eyestorm. We will be exhibiting it in New York next month and at Multiplied Art Fair at Christie’s, London and in Mexico City in October.

See the work in more detail and buy online here.
ANGIE DAVEY
Creative Director
WHITNEY MCVEIGH
Map of Time
 
 
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