James Whitington - Human:Nature
The Rocks Pop Up as part of Art & About Sydney
Informal Artist in Perpetual Adaptation
Rocks Popup Gallery: 140 George St, The Rocks
Exhibition Opening Tuesday 23rd, September 2014
In October 2011, artist James Whitington had to draw on his improvisational skills after arriving at Redgate Studios near the village of Feijiacun on the outskirts of Beijing as Artist in Residence.
“I was immediately inspired by a lotus pond near the Residency, the Autumn lotus, green and brown, dropping seeds into the pond,” explained Whitington.
Working with this year’s City of Sydney Art & About theme Endangered, the Human:Nature exhibition took the opportunity to raise awareness and funds for Environmental Defenders Office (Qld) in their fight to protect the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
EDO Queensland is a non-profit, non-government community legal centre who are currently acting for three conservation groups in legal challenges against the approval to allow dredging and dumping of millions of tonnes of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef.
EDO Queensland relies solely on donations to carry out this work. Please support when visiting the Human:Nature exhibition or direct at www.givenow.com.au/edo
"I expected to have access to a printmaking studio with a printing press, but discovered there was none available, so instead I began to adapt the residency home/studio to make graphics.”
Whitington found a table with a glass top, a cupping glass and a plastic cylindrical vase, to use for rolling the ink into the paper. He bought mdf boards from the village delivered by pushbike to use as wood blocks.
After several less than satisfying attempts at making the ink transfer to the paper, Whitington realized the inked boards were going to look better than the paper prints taken from them. He completed eight ink images on mdf board entitled “Lotus Dreaming” and exhibited them at the local NOVA Gallery.
Once back home Whitington returned to his printing press, creating large scroll-like Sugar Lift Aquatint Etchings inspired by the bark patterns on silver birch trees in Beijing.
In an exhibition entitled HUMAN: NATURE Whitington will show these works at a Rocks Pop-Up initiative in the old Gucci store at Shop 2.05 140 George Street, along with other etchings, paintings, monotypes and sculpture.
The show historicises and contextualises the artist as a biomorphic artist, working in several mediums, identifying with the Confucius concept of “Ren Tian” which translates as belonging to nature. 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”.
The titles of Whitington’s artworks reflect this “Matrix”, "Forest Apple" and “Lotus Dreaming” reveal his attachment to the world of nature.