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Ian Whitmore | Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense

September 15 - October 27, 2007

 

press release:

Opening Reception: September 15, 6:30 - 8:30pm

In the show honi soit qui mal y pense, Whitmore focuses on two themes: the hunt and key players in the Bush Administration. In the "monomania portraits", Whitmore paints five figures. George W. Bush's own portrait is the smallest of the works; strutting through a bright pink background while wearing a white suit, Bush looks outward toward the horizon without concern or trouble. Whitmore's portrait of Dick Cheney depicts him at the solemn anniversary of Auschwitz, where leaders gathered together to mourn and remember. All in attendence wore suits and ties; Cheney, however, wears a parka with a fur-lined collar, and in the portrait he appears both lost and bewildered.

In the hunt series, Whitmore deals with two somewhat opposing forces: nature and culture. Focusing on different stages and perspectives of a hunt, in one painting, he references the Salem witch trials, while in another he depicts a gluttonous vision of dinner and dessert. Other paintings include a lamb bound at the feet, a rearing horse with unseen rider, and a mythical hyena.

The title of the show may serve as an initial meeting point for the two themes. Anne Ellegood describes in her essay, "The motto 'shame upon him who speaks evil on it' suggests a silencing, or a censoring of digression or dissention. Although not expressed in Old French, this sentiment is one we have heard repeatedly in recent years as our political leaders insist that to question or disagree with their policies is un-American, an arguably irrational and hysterical position in an ostensible democracy."

In these works, Whitmore's handling of the paint continues to be demanding and intriguing. Inviting interpretation while challenging it, he combines abstraction and representation, while collaging from various sources the imagery, style, and subjects. He describes his own canvases as skirmish fields where issues of form challenge content for supremacy.

CLICK HERE to download the essay by Anne Ellegood, Curator, Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

 

Gallery Hours are Thursday - Saturday, Noon - 5pm
(and by appointment)

4718 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20011
T. 202.462.1601
F. 202.462.1604