Doug Whitfield is fascinated with the concept of individual perception of reality, dreams and alternative realities. “I'm fascinated by what is "real" and to whom. If everyone has a different reality, who gets to decide what the real one is, or is there even a real one, and if there isn't then maybe we should stop discussing what is and is not real, and just discuss perceptions...”
His work has humor and edge. The composition flows in a decorative manor like a comfortable rhythm. There is whimsy combined with real-world grit in the subject matter. In his dancing couples and shortened figures he questions the notions of loveliness and the grotesque - creating endearing protagonists that fall outside the norms of accepted beauty. “My compositions are dreamlike; they blur myth, history and fantasy together. My characters gesture to you dramatically and strike romantic poses on the stage of my fantastic theater. They are cognizant of you, just as you are of them. In my ambiguous dramas, the beautiful and grotesque seem but two sides of the same coin. The point of these juxtapositions, other than for your delight, is to engage the power of your imagination to reconcile the ambiguity. My performers beg you to step onto their stage and play along with them in my fantastic theater.”
A strong foundation in drawing and classical painting underlies his compositions, but his approach to painting is instinctive, engaged and engaging. While working to find the image through the act of painting he imagines the emotional response it will evoke in the viewer . “I conceive a complex arrangement of characters and clues the viewer will use to figure out a story and how they (the viewer) fit into the drama on my stage. I work on several paintings concurrently. As in stage productions, I have characters I use over and over who play different roles. Concurrent compositions often share the same characters, palette and themes.”
Doug Whitfield was born into a family of artists. Immersed in this world, it was a natural progression rather than conscience decision to become an artist. He studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Mohawk Valley Community College, Rochester Institute of Technology and Syracuse University. His work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions throughout the United States, in Europe and Asia.
We will be showing the selection of works by Doug Whitfield as part of our exhibition, "& Others", for Stormy Weather Arts Festival, opening 1 November, with a reception 5:30-7:30PM, and a second festival reception on Saturday 2 November. "& Others" will focus on contemporary figurative work placing the figure in a narrative, and exploring our perception of self and interaction with others. If you wish to purchase works before or during the festival weekend, use the code PRE-SHOW-STORMY to receive free shipping valid through 3 November. Works will not ship until the end of the festival weekend, which closes 3 November.
Painting by Doug Whitfield. Oil on canvas, 38 x 48 inches