Nth. is delighted to present Jennifer Whitten’s latest explorations in painting and music.
Time Signature explores the relationship between painting and music as indexical markers of time. In recent history, theoretical physicists have explored the notion that time as we've known it in Western Civilisation, is a linear construct; it has been proposed, alternatively, that time is in fact a spatial dimension in which past, present and future exist simultaneously.
As objects, paintings and (sheet) music exhibit the same sense of temporal simultaneity. A painting is a history of marks in the same way that sheet music is a history of notes; both forms indicate actions that were once present (such as the making of a painting or the performance of a suite), but are now past. Sheet music can be reanimated in future performances, while a painting will become something new each time a viewer encounters it, or when the light and shadow of its environment alter its surface.
The reverse-glass paintings featured in this exhibition highlight the subtle relationship between the painted surface and the fourth dimension; areas devoid of paint continuously absorb the environment into the painting's composition. "Fugue", a score composed and to be performed live by the artist on a music box, was derived from an algorithm using the artist's family tree and a program that maps the location of the planets based on the input of dates.
For years, Whitten’s photorealistic paintings have navigated the aestheticisation of absence, nostalgia and time; and most recently, after an encounter in Italy with a collection of 18th century reverse-glass paintings, she determined that glass would serve as an ideal conduit of these themes. Oil, reverse-glass and representational painting have lengthy histories, but Jennifer's edgy recontextualisation of these methods upends any hint of the conventional. Incorporating everything from steel, to video, to live music, her complex installations defy the traditional 2D confines set for painting, but preserve its seduction and sincerity.