Neuberger Museum of Art

Purchase, New York

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Whitfield Lovell: Portrayals


Until recently, artist Whitfield Lovell has been recognized for prints and large-scale drawings and art that focused upon the figure. Lovell compelled viewers to focus upon the person in his portrayals by filling his picture plane almost entirely with a straightforward portrayal of the subject. A characteristic that lent added distinction to Lovell's work rested in his almost exclusive use of photographic images as the basis of his art. (left: Libations, 1998, charcoal on wood and mixed media, 96 x 56 x 67 inches, courtesy of the artist, photo by Jim Frank)

Recently, Lovell shifted his perspective and format. His new body of work will be introduced by the Neuberger Museum of Art on May 7 and will be on view through August 20, 2000. In this exhibition, Lovell creates tableaux that incorporate his drawings and found items. He has turned to black and white drawing on old wooden planks and archaic wood pieces as the background for his portraiture. Some of the planks and boards he has selected retain remnants of wallpaper and peeling paint that once decorated their surfaces. In some instances, he has fastened antique objects directly to the wood surface or arranged them on the floor in front of the drawn image. (right: Whispers, 1999, charcoal on wood and mixed media, 120 x 55 x 14 inches, courtesy of the artist, photo by Jim Frank)

Vintage photographs still provide a basis for many of Lovell's new pieces, inspiring environmental assemblages. His work radiates an atmosphere that is both haunting and meditative, quietly yet soulfully expressive of the human spirit. Lovell provides clues within his work that define his sense of the essence, psyche and spirit of a family member or an anonymous individual. He motivates speculation about the subjects' lives and experience. (left: Rising River Blues, 1999, charcoal on wood and mixed media, 80 x 55 x 54 inches, courtesy of the artist, photo by Jim Frank)

Lovell's work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and the Jersey City Museum. His work also has been included in exhibitions at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York City, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Lovell is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, and a National Endowment for the Arts Mid-Atlantic Regional Fellowship.

The exhibition is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency.

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