Celebrated British artist David Kim Whittaker is self-taught, born in Cornwall in 1964 and still through fidelity to his own environment living and working in the area. Whittaker’s work achieved breakthrough status with his interpretation of the human head and its metaphysical mental core. These works often juggle states of inner and outer calm and conflict – offering a glimpse of strength and fragility, the conscious and the subconscious, the masculine and the feminine. Into this realm Whittaker has increasingly brought historical questions of identity, abstraction and juxtaposition. Whittaker has achieved international critical recognition and has exhibited nationally and internationally, a reception that has also been mirrored commercially. Self Portrait Four, a 2011 Oil, acrylic on canvas sold for £81,250 at Phillips in March 2018. Furthermore, “Boys Ascends”, 2013 a work in mixed media sold for £46,761 in December 2018 at Christie’s in Paris.
In an essay for an exhibition at Fondazione Mudima, the curator and writer Joseph Clarke observes that the differing techniques of Whittaker’s practice ‘denote conflict but also manifest a place where fusion and harmony exist.’ Inside this vortex, Whittaker creates a strange harmony, a world forged from his own imagination and memory but recognisable instantly to the viewer, too; unsettling, but comprehensible. The series exhibited here comes from the beginning of this important period in the artist’s development. Executed in 2007-08, these paintings are original works in series of 20 unique variants. Here we see Whittaker’s fine sense of abstract composition with each work of oil and graphite on paper laid on card, evoking powerful and different emotional and receptive states.