Congratulations to Saatchi Online artist Whitney McVeigh who has two solo shows opening in South Africa in March 2011.
In 2010 Whitney completed a residency at The Nirox Foundation in Gauteng and she will be exhibiting a new body of work under the title of ‘Archaeology of Memory’, running concurrently at SMAC Art Gallery Cape Town from 24 March to 22 May 2011 and at Nirox Projects, Arts on Main in Johannesburg from 26 March 2011 to 17 April 2011. McVeigh’s direct and immediate engagement with the environment at Nirox, which is situated in the Cradle of Humankind, a Unesco World Heritage site in the Magaliesberg, has produced a body of work which reveals the artist’s recognition and accurate capturing of the spirit and mysticism of this land.
The mainly large, monochromatic heads floating in space resulted from her profound experience with the landscape. McVeigh’s work produced at Nirox drew an interesting response from the local audience. There is a connection and resonance with Africans in particular. The suggestion of ancestry in the floating, timeless and primal black heads evokes an instinctive reaction. Africans have a strong sense of their pre-history and the culture of ritual ancestor-worship and linked spiritual practice is pervasive. The paintings contain elements reminiscent of that produced by the extraordinary naïve Venda sculptors who are now widely recognised as important in art-historical terms due to the spiritual depth and mystery of their work.
McVeigh works in a variety of media and she is best known for her abstracted figurative works on paper, in acrylic ink. She also produces monoprints by folding, crumpling and pressing paper together. The works vary in degrees of abstraction and fluidity, depending on the moment of production, which is immediate and instinctive but measured at the same time.
McVeigh’s process is intuitive, yet deliberate. She absorbs and engages until a moment of impulsive creativity – revealing elements of Action Painting and Neo-Expressionism, but is reined in by a finely tuned sense of when to stop. The result is a delicate, semi or completely abstracted form or figure, which captivates the viewer and allows for individual responses to the work.
Whitney McVeigh was born in the US, but lives and works in London. She has travelled and exhibited widely and has recently been receiving critical attention, in particular after her solo exhibition at London’s A Foundation and after being prominently featured in the BBC documentary “Where is Modern Art Now”, presented by historian Gus Casely-Hayford in 2010.