Pastel on laid paper
Sheet: 29.2 x 50.2 cm (11 1/2 x 19 3/4 in.); Framed: 37.4 x 58.3 x 3.8 cm (14 3/4 x 22 15/16 x 1 1/2 in.)
Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2020.227
© Jack Whitten
Drawing was central to Jack Whitten’s artistic practice and he described it once as “an act of brave exploration into unknown territories.”
For over five decades, Jack Whitten experimented with materials and process to create his own distinctive style of abstract drawing. This work dates to a period shortly after the artist relocated to New York from rural Alabama and was involved with the civil rights movement. Depicting two anonymous African American women, it belongs to a series of portraits, created by the artist as a means of commentary on the lack of visibility of such figures throughout Western art. Depicted in gestural marks of bright color, the subjects command the viewer’s attention and convey a sense of power and dignity.
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