Epsilon Group I


Jack Whitten ( American, 1939 - 2018 )

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General Description

Jack Whitten’s experiments with painting date to the 1960s. Inspired by abstract expression­ism, he created dynamic works noted for their raucous colors and density of gesture combined with topical con­tent—meditations on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War. In the 1970s, Whitten’s experimentation turned toward abstraction, when he developed a method of painting he related to photographic technology and printmaking traditions. He abandoned handmade gesture and brushstroke; rather, paint and canvas were “processed” through an inventive technique in which the artist dragged the canvas across large troughs of paint and used sticks, rakes, and Afro-combs to create surface texture, line, and voids. Epsilon Group I, contains the language of geometric elements Whitten introduced into his work in the latter half of the 1970s, which emerged out of a renewed interest in imposing order, which he likens to a renewed interest in controlling the "drawn" element in his painting.

Adapted from

  • Jeffrey Grove, Variations on a Theme: Contemporary Art 1950s__-Present, Label text, 2012.

  • Jeffrey Grove, DMA unpublished material, 2010.