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WHITNEY MCVEIGH | 'MAP OF TIME'
January 24th 2020
American artist Whitney McVeigh explores the human identity and how we collectively link together through our objects, cultures and philosophies. During her artist-in-residencies and travels around the world, she has collected countless objects. Yellowed pictures in cracked frames, books eroded by time, rusty metal cases and numerous curiosities; each object possessing a lost memory and is part of our common history. Her installations display pockets of history via found objects; a similarity observed in the artist’s works on paper that are psychological landscapes rooted in her personal life, thoughts and memories. McVeigh’s visual poetry is expressed in a multitude of mediums from installations and videos to found objects and works on paper; works which are highly autobiographical.
by Henrik Riis
PRINT EDITION RELEASE
At the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013, the Italian Gervasouti Foundation presented a solo project by Whitney McVeigh. The site-specific installation, titled ‘Hunting Song’, gives a fascinating insight to the artist’s practice.

With scenic views to the Venetian glass workshops on Murano and the island of the San Michele Cemetery, the historic buildings of the Gervasouti foundation, on the northern part of Venice, goes back to the 16th century when it served as a hospice for unmarried women. It was in one of the foundation’s adjacent buildings McVeigh created a site-specific installation. Best described as a small curiosity shop, she displayed hundreds of object; religious icons, porcelain figures, a used journal, heraldic plates and dented metal kitchenware from the local site - blended with her own memorabilia of silent clocks, cracked picture frames, an analogue telephone and even a small rusty birdcage. Among the artefacts were selected works on paper by the artist, including a framed cover of a vintage book, ‘Hunting Song’; the title of the installation.

McVeigh was born in New York in 1968 and at the age of seven she moved with her parents to the United Kingdom. With London as her new home and the family’s close ties to New York, due her father’s work, she travelled extensively from a young age; something that clearly influenced her throughout her life. After her studies at Edinburgh Collage of Art the first works on paper emerged.
WHITNEY MCVEIGH
Head Series (Y), 2007

Edition of 50
49(w) x 60(h) cm
19.49(w) x 23.62(h) inches
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Whitney McVeigh (American, b. 1968)
49(w) x 60(h) cm
19.49(w) x 23.62(h) inches
Screenprint
Edition of 50
PRICE
$ 975.00
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From the mid 2000’s McVeigh began working on a series of work titled ‘Head Series’; a series she would work on until 2011 and regularly came back to between other projects. The pieces, painted with the use of watercolour, acrylic and mixed media, do not take inspiration from real portrait work in a traditional sense, but rather prehistoric paintings. They are more an abstract observation into human imperfection and the complex nature beneath the surface of us all; something McVeigh refers to as our ‘internal landscape’. In some portraits, like Head Series (Y) (2007), the primary colours of the figure, such as red and yellow, are distinctly blended and merged, giving it a strong appearance. A few works display heads that are absent looking having a blurry ghostlike appearance - and others are intense and with relatively small heads in comparison to the size of the paper. Each work is showing different character landscape. To McVeigh, her work is as much about what is trying to communicate as well as what the viewer brings of themselves.

While participating in an artist residency in China in 2007, McVeigh discovered many similarities between the process of calligraphy and the pieces she was making. A scholar practising calligraphy sees the creative performance as an outcome of an inner truth expressed on external medium, such as a piece of paper. McVeigh found this Eastern practice highly aligned with her own theory of painting, where every mark is a direct reflection of the artist’s state of mind in any given moment - and where no brush mark can be undone. This discovery led to a new body of monochrome work.
WHITNEY MCVEIGH
Map of Time, 2014

Edition of 50
74(w) x 95(h) cm
29.33(w) x 37.40(h) inches
MAKE AN OFFER
Art is about talking with each other and via ‘Make an Offer’ you can have a direct conversation with us and suggest a price for this artwork.
Your Offer *
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Whitney McVeigh (American, b. 1968)

Map of Time , 2014

74(w) x 95(h) cm
29.33(w) x 37.40(h) inches
Screenprint on Somerset 410gsm paper with hand torn edge
Edition of 50
PRICE
$ 965.00
MAKE AN OFFER
Find art trends here >
Map of Time (2014) is a screen print edition from this series of work. At first the composition may appear abstract, but it is very much figurative and suggests a human torso. The head, the upper body, the arms and legs; the latter visualised by thick lines of ink. Slightly more abstract is the angle of the body; is the person facing the viewer or turning the body to one side. McVeigh never studied the human anatomy in detail, so the resemblance purely comes from her personal consciousness. The fluid and spontaneous process of painting with thick black ink without a pre-existing sketch, becomes a map of time, as the title of the work suggests, and a psychological landscape of the mind. As with most of the artist work, it’s a representation of our being, our thoughts and our physical presence.

McVeigh’s installation for ‘Plato in L.A.’ at the Getty Villa, built by the American oil tycoon J. Paul Getty in 1954, is another delightful example of how she reconnects with lost memories of found objects through her work. In 2018 the curators of the museum asked a select group of artists to participate by each displaying work along pieces from the Getty Villa’s permanent collection in Los Angeles. Her contribution took inspiration from Plato’s dialogue ‘Theaetetus’, which explores the nature of knowledge. McVeigh’s installation ‘Divine Rules’ displayed more than 500 books in a bookshelf; books collected by her over a ten-year period. The display is not only a personal reflection of the many lives of the texts and a universal human learning - but from a distance the five-meter-long rectangular installation becomes visual too. The mahogany-brown bookshelf filled with books, in almost similar heights, and the multitude of colours from the spines of the books; reds, blues, browns and yellows, fainted by the passing of time, gives it a warm, homely and comforting feel.

Whitney McVeigh has had several solo exhibitions since her first in show in London 2009, including the above mentioned “Hunting Song” at the 55th Venice Biennale. Selected group exhibitions include “Plato in L.A.: Contemporary Artists’ Visions” at Getty Villa in Los Angeles; “Not a Single Story” Wanas Konst Foundation in South Africa and “Articulate” at Victoria Miro Gallery in London. In addition to travelling, reading and collecting over the past decades, she has participated in artist-in-residences: notable Serra da Capivara, Brazil (2019); San Augustin, Mexico (2008); Beijing, China (2007) - and several residencies in South Africa between 2010-2018. Published literature includes “Archaeology of Memory” (2011) by SMAC Gallery and “New Work” (2013) by A. Foundation. Whitney McVeigh lives and works in London.

The print edition, Map of Time, was released in collaboration with the artist in 2014 and you can find more information about the work on Whitney McVeigh’s artist page here.
 
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