An introduction can be a wonderful thing. You can meet interesting people, and make new friends. You can be introduced to your new favorite foods, books, music, or artist.
I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite artists. Some of whom I’ve been familiar with for years, and others I’ve only recently been introduced to.
The person I’d like to introduce is the artist Douglas Witmer.
Douglas Witmer was born in 1971 in Winchester, VA and raised in Lancaster County, PA. He has lived and worked in Philadelphia since 1995.
2001 M.F.A., The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
1993 B.A., Goshen College, Indiana
“The School Papers is an ongoing series since 2004, now numbering nearly 100 individual works. In 2004 I saw Tantric drawings from India for the first time. They are made anonymously on irregularly shaped buff-colored paper surfaces. The scale is intimate and the imagery is flat and geometric. Within the Tantric tradition these works serve specific meditative purposes for both their creators and their viewers. Worlds away, and without any knowledge of the Tantric practice, I nevertheless connected immediately and profoundly with their visual energy. It’s an uncanny balance that feels precisely calibrated, yet simultaneously blunt and raw. These works made manifest possibilities I was exploring in my own work at the time. And I was deeply impressed by the idea that “pure” geometric imagery had an important “use” within a community.
In 2006 my father gave me a cache of vintage school grade writing paper he had found. The color of the old paper reminded me of the color of the Tantric drawings. One day I began layering upon this paper the simplest rectangular forms in black and white. Unexpected incidencts began to occur right away–tears, buckling, bleed-thru. But this paper had a way of receiving and transforming every kind of touch and material I put to it.
On this unique surface, with the sheet size and repetitive ruled lines serving as grounding constants, I explore a personal tactility and geometry in a contemplative mindset.” DW
“Fruitville is the name for a body of work that has been ongoing since 2000, however individual works are undated. Work in this series is produced in intermittent spurts, often with years between.
The Fruitville Pike is a road where I grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It’s a major thoroughfare, but it doesn’t go to, from, or through anywhere called Fruitville. My efforts to find Fruitville, if there ever was such a place at all, have been inconclusive.
So Fruitville exists in my imagination as a kind of Eden; a place of purity, clarity, and quiet delight. It manifests itself in an ongoing visual process of experimentation with wood, paint, glue, paper, ink, light, and shadows. The things that make up my Fruitville exist to be in relationship to the places where they can be seen, and also in relationship with each other.” DW
A full-length essay about the Fruitville series, by Chris Ashley, is available here.
Other material relating to Douglas Witmer.
Website: Douglas Witmer
Blog: Douglas Witmer
Facebook fan page: Douglas Witmer
The Art Blog.org: Douglas Witmer
Some Walls: Douglas Witmer
Thinking About Art: Douglas Witmer
Studio Critical: Douglas Witmer