Brian Sherwin: Whitney, what can you tell us about your educational background. Do you have formal training in art? If so, who were your instructors and how did they influence you?
Whitney Wood: I did. I received my BFA in painting from Auburn University. During the time that I was there I studied with UGA in Cortona, Italy. The painting professor that I had there was one of the most influential people I had ever met. After graduating, I went to Pont Aven, France with Rhode Island School of Design. I studied under Victor Kord. Learning from him proved to be the most defining experience for me. Those professors encouraged me to move to New York for a few years. So I did. I worked at Paul Kasmin Gallery and painted and studied under Larry Poons. After two years I returned to the south and am currently an MFA candidate in painting at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Atlanta, Georgia.
BS: What about your early artistic influences and experiences. When did you decide to pursue art?
WW: My grandmother was a painter. When I was a child, I would experience a sense of wonderment each time that I viewed one of her beautiful, explosive paintings. The visceral quality of the thickly endowed medium was always so seductive to me. So I began art classes under numerous painters. I continued this throughout my childhood.
BS: With that said, how would you say that your work has advanced since that time?
WW: My work has matured since then and has maintained a constant state of evolution and growth. My subject matter has moved from the literal to the more interpretative, which in my opinion is more poetic than the literal copying of a thing.
BS: Whitney, is there anything else you would like to tell us about your background in regards to how your art has matured?
WW: I spent some time in Shanghai, China a few years ago. I had a small exhibition at a gallery there and this was the start of something really wonderful and refreshing for me. It was there that I discovered this child like fascination with non-traditional materials on traditional surfaces and vice versa.
BS: Whitney, can you go into detail about your artistic process? How do you begin a piece? When do you know that a piece is finished?
WW: I create an under painting that requires a unique process that I have developed over the past 4 years. It is only after this under painting has been made that the painting begins. I then bring out the forms by removing forms. Process has become very seductive for me.
BS: How does current world events influence your work? In other words, how does contemporary life impact your creative practice?
WW: My work has always been very responsive to my surroundings and travels.
BS: Tell us more about the philosophy behind your art. What motivates you to create?
WW: Nature has endured industrial and architectural developments throughout history and will remain a perfectly functioning system even as our cities are deconstructed and reconstructed over and over again. I have always been fascinated with natural systems. Also the history of architecture, its reflection of cultures as well as urban planning, construction, and destruction.
BS: Whitney, why did you choose to work in the medium(s) that you use?
WW: I am currently using toxic materials along with more traditional medium. I love the ability of these materials to respond to my touch and direction. The initial reaction of the more toxic materials is less controlled. There is a sense of humility that comes with incorporating elements into my work that rely on gravitational pull rather than my own hand.
BS: Whitney, what is your studio like? Can you go into detail about your studio routine? Do you work in silence-- listen to music.
WW: My paintings undergo many different stages that require specific processes. The under paintings stage is more intuitive so I will listen to some great music or an interesting lecture. When I need to be more contemplative and the process becomes strategic, I will usually work in silence.
BS: What are you working on at this time?
WW: I have been creating imagined environments including architectural mutations that have been freed from practical concerns. By mimicking natural structure, these building-like forms express an enthusiasm in connecting with nature. The forms are suggestive of a future post cataclysmic/apocalyptic city structure that reveals the superiority of nature and in turn symbolizes a purer and more tranquil world. These hypothetical environments, where architecture exists harmoniously with nature while suggesting its supremacy, convey a sensory experience of the space itself. "Nature has that in her which compels us to invent giants." -- C.S. Lewis
BS: Where can our readers view your work?
WW: I have a website that is currently under construction. It will be finished within the next few weeks. Information regarding upcoming exhibitions will be found there. www.whitneywood.com
BS: Whitney, the Internet is changing how we discover and view art. In your opinion, how have sites like myartspace.com empowered artists?
WW: It is so important for an artist to immerse themselves in artistic community. Of course one does this by cultivating relationships but Internet sites like myartspace.com is a wonderful tool for connecting to a diverse group of artists from all over.
BS: Finally, what are your goals as an artist? What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
WW: I am concerned with art and life, which leads to experience. I want to live the art that I make everyday. I am content as long as my work is suggestive of a reality that exists outside of normal human experience. My faith is grafted to the root of my work as well as who I am. I consider my work to be successful as long as my faith is inherent in it. Any work that remains strong in its convictions, no matter what those convictions are, is strong itself.
You can learn more about Whitney Wood by visiting her website-- www.whitneywood.com. You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page-- www.myartspace.com/interviews
Take care, Stay true,