Ian Whitmore: The Devil, a Shadow, the Notice of a Small Falling Leaf

Ian Whitmore: The Devil, a Shadow, the Notice of a Small Falling Leaf

grey garden by ian whitmore

Ian Whitmore

Grey Garden, 2009

Saturday, February 4, 2012Saturday, March 10, 2012


Washington, DC USA

Opening Reception: February 4, 6:00 - 8:00PM

G Fine Art is pleased to present: “The Devil, a Shadow, the Notice of a Small Falling Leaf,” Ian Whitmore’s third solo show in the Gallery.

This show, three years in the making, allowed the artist to expand the typical process. Whitmore’s is an elaborate back and forth journey. The title refers to the iconoclastic theologian Andreas Karlstadt, who endorsed the destruction and removal of all paintings and statuary from churches, he deemed them idolatrous. Karlstadt encouraged his followers to summon their courage for the task at hand by vividly describing the image-breakers dilemma as he stands with hammer poised before the altar, paralyzed by the fear of supernatural retribution.

“As a consequence , I stand in fear that I might not be able to burn idols. I would fear the devils’s block of wood would do me injury…Although on the one hand I have Scripture and know that images have not power and also not life, no blood, no spirit, yet on the other hand, fear holds me and makes me stand in awe of the image of the devil, a shadow, the notice of a small falling leaf”

The telescoping of the supernatural, through the ambiguity of shadows, to the simple concrete fact of the natural world describes the experience of looking at paintings: the shifting of attention from the retinal to object identification, to symbolic understanding of the content and on to the mystery of what spirit, if any hides within the picture.

Whitmore has deliberately avoided the familiar creating barriers to interrupt the process of painting this body of work. This show is not a series of paintings, each work has a reason and life of it’s own. Some have been made over such a long period that the original intention is lost. They are layered with additional meaning and imagery and finally completed as Whitmore finds some extraneous things hovering in the background, these are the elements that are teased out. The artist says that: “time with a picture is spent detuning or refocusing it, with a hope that it will teeter just exactly on an edge separating it from non meaning. Painting turns into a ritual of denaturing and mutating, then trying to draw new meaning out of what had seemed meaningless.”

Ian Whitmore was born in Ann Arbor, MI. He received his BA from George Washington University. Whitmore showed at Fusebox., and moved to Brooklyn in 2008. His work is included in many private collections and in the Collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.