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Joanna Whittle studied at Central Saint Martins and Royal College of Art. She has had solo exhibitions at Agnews and the Museum of London, whilst taking part in numerous group shows including, most recently, Bethlehem Boys Club at (Sidney + Matilda -2018), Confluence at the Herrick Gallery London and Bloc Projects (2018), John Moores Painting Prize Exhibition (2018) and ‘Strangelands’ at Collyer Bristow Gallery (2017). Recently she has undertaken public commissions including producing work for Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust. In 2019 she has curated and been part of 'Flat+Earth' at Sidney+Matilda Gallery, Sheffield and is joint winner of the Harley Gallery Open Prize. She has recently been selected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
The paintings are often constructed from several elements giving them a frozen static quality. The weather is oppressive, about to storm or bring up a wind whilst red light reflects from clouds. The water or mud isolates structures and trees, making islands and increasing the sense of something being not quite right. Rather than the uncanny however, the paintings pursue those small moments of uncertainty, or hesitancy in our understanding or perception of reality and consequently realism. Elements give way to each other – grass becomes mud, becomes water which undermines the stillness, there is an undercurrent of flux or motility, of places emerging and submerging.
The overanxious handling of the subject matter is almost forensic, each element is studied and exposed. But equally elements give way to fluid and rough rendering to undermine this certainty. The paintings are on a small or miniature scale making these worlds more focused and intense. They are not bodily landscapes but rather operate as small hallucinations or worlds running concurrently or beneath reality, formed by minute perceptions.The work deploys material and illusory qualities of paint in an exploration of both real and imagined landscapes.
bear stories - Joanna Whittle