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James Whitington - Biomorphic Exhibition

The “Biomorphic” exhibition historicises and contextualises James Whitington as a biomorphic artist, working in several mediums.  A biomorphic form specifies that while forms are abstract, they "refer to, or evoke, living forms".  Biomorphism as an art movement began in the 20th century, when artists modelled their design elements on naturally occurring patterns or shapes reminiscent of nature and living organisms.


Whitington alternately works in a variety of mediums including etchings, monotypes, sculpture and painting in both oil and ink.  Working in the written word, Whitington writes poetry, novels, plays and films.  In addition to his role as writer for film, Whitington will often play the additional role of producer and actor.


As a Master Printmaker, Whitington works in a variety of classical printmaking techniques including sugarlift aquatint etchings, hard ground etchings and single and multi-layered monotypes.  Monotypes are the least known medium for artistic expression - a monotype is a unique painted impression transferred from a plate onto paper.


In Europe the best known exponents of monotypes are Blake, Degas and Matisse, in Australia those using monotypes extensively are Rupert Bunny, Sidney Nolan, Clifton Pugh and recently Euan Macleod, Charles Blackman and Rodney Pople.


The leading authority on Australian monotypes, Dr Thomas Middlemost, Art Curator of the Charles Sturt University included Whitington’s works in the University’s touring collection focusing on Australia’s best monotypes produced in the last 110 years. 


Middlemost says Whitington’s works are “abstract, however, they also have a fluctuating anthropomorphic form. A chair, person, animal, face or eye, fade in and out of focus. A bird’s face springs jauntily from the left of the composition of a turning feminine torso. Human faces and eyes scan the viewer, as the black within the work creeps through.”


“His monochrome monotypes - like Matisse - are formed from thin subtractions, swiftly excised from this uneven ground, on printing one can detect these gestural swipes on the paper.”


A triptych of sugarlift aquatint etchings titled “Ren Tian” identify with the Confucius concept of extending human benevolence to the natural world. Whitington says “I also identify with the American abstract expressionist painter Lee Krasner who when asked where her art came from said: “I am nature”. 


Whitington’s monotypes toured NSW Regional Galleries in 2006.  11 works were acquired by Orange and Grafton Regional Galleries and Charles Sturt University.


Exhibition Dates: 13th to 30th November, 2014.


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