Causa Sui

Ann Stewart’s opening for Causa Sui drew a delightful crowd to whitespace gallery this past Friday. The weather was warm and as the temperature cooled, the heat of the day faded into a comfortable summer evening for all who attended. Guests flowed from room to room to gaze upon Stewart’s three-dimensional objects and graphite etchings and the conversation hummed as visitors observed her work. Stewart’s collection is entirely enthralling; the geometric forms of both styles of her work visibly inform one another creating a beautiful cohesiveness to the space.

Her 3D objects are suspended in transparent cubes in each room of the gallery so guests are able to closely examine them from all angles, an interaction that pulls the viewer into the installation, informing a more detailed understanding of the work. This kind of interaction is necessary in order to fully appreciate Stewart’s objects: their intricate facets, incisions, slices, edges and protruding planes are incredibly small and exact. Stewart creates her objects with a 3D printer. A unique process (see detailed explanation here involving computerized images of the objects before they are printed. This process also mirrors the title of the show, Causa Sui. The term causa sui is Latin for “cause of itself.” Once Stewarts prints an object, it creates itself.

Her objects and drawings all operate employing a centrifugal force, gaining their momentum from central forms. Her objects coil or protrude outward in complex patterns and her drawings employ a similar format, utilizing negative space in tangent with their faux symmetric geometry. The largest piece in the center of the main room of whitespace, entitled “Oscillator” is beautifully drawn and shaded, maze-like in its geometric imagery. All her drawings are black and white and collapse the distance between figure and ground resulting in an illusionistic experience for the viewer. The drawings come to fruition through their nearly 3D appearances. Oscillator inhabits the same room as three of the largest 3D objects entitled “Sight Path,” “Sui Genesis,” and “Big Bang Baby.” One can see the influence of Stewart’s particular style upon these four large pieces.

Stewart’s practice of pattern recognition and pattern generation in the creation of the objects and etchings is an effort to negotiate the relationship between randomness and structure and investigate the visualization of perception. As viewers flanked the objects, leaning in to get a closer look examining the pieces’ precarious and convoluted forms, this negotiation was facilitated in a physical space and a deeper understanding of how the objects operated was fostered.

Along with Stewart’s work, whitespec featured a new artist as well, Geewon Ahn. Her body of work titled Between Absence and Presence drew the crowd’s attention as well. Made from cable ties entirely, Ahn’s work extended beyond the space of whitespec into the courtyard. Three of her sculptures inhabited the space along with the evening’s visitors. Otherworldly in their forms, Ahn’s work complemented Stewart’s objects quite beautifully. In an examination of loss and memory, Ahn navigates the relationship between form and negative space as well, creating pieces that necessitate close inspection and interaction. Her pieces are rounded in nature, some of which made up of components that protrude into the space of the viewer. Balanced by the work of Stewart, Ahn’s pieces created an engaging and invigorating experience for all who attended.

Written by: Hilleary Gramling

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Whitespace Reflections

Today is my last day interning for whitespace and as I sit in the gallery surrounded by Matt Haffner’s work I find great appreciation in the wide range of art I have been introduced to over the past few months.  I first encountered whitespace this past January when Beth Lilly’s photographs were on display.  The opportunity to attend Lilly’s artist talk and speak with her individually broadened my understanding of photography.  The following exhibit, Build a Fire by Pete Schulte, spoke to my interest in architecture and design.  Schulte intended for each work displayed to function as a complement to whitespace’s structure and interior.  PATH by Nicole Livieratos, currently on display in whitespec, has opened up the world of installation art to me.  Livieratos, inspired by dance, has created a space that engages visitors with text and motion.  After spending time with such a variety of exhibits, I feel confident about confronting a form of art I am less familiar with.

Reflecting on the shows and artists I have encountered over the past few months emphasizes the amazing quality and breadth of work that whitespace displays.  It was an incredible experience to survey each show on my own and then have the opportunity to pick each artist’s brain.  I found myself beginning conversations with artists with a lot of very specific questions about the purpose and meaning of every little detail of their work.  Over the course of many conversations I began to understand that while these artists do have specific inspirations and intentions there is not necessarily a right or wrong interpretation of each work.  Whitespace is meant to facilitate discussion about the art on display in order for individuals to come to their own unique conclusions.

Coming to this understanding about whitespace leaves me with an enhanced curiosity for all forms of art.  As I wrap up my internship with whitespace, I am preparing to begin architecture school.  I think my time at whitespace has served as a nice transitional period between my undergraduate liberal arts experience to a more focused, design-intensive graduate program.  My experiences at whitespace give me confidence that I will be able to engage with any form of art or design I encounter in my future endeavors.


Thank you whitespace!

–Margaret Gregg

Photo Courtesy of Erin Branch

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The Old Gods and Their Crumbling City

Matt Haffner’s eccentric new show drew a big crowd to the whitespace opening reception of The Old Gods and Their Crumbling City.  The warm night created the perfect atmosphere for families and friends to gather around the grounds outside whitespace and enjoy food and drinks.  Some of Haffner’s black aluminum crows were even able to join the outside crowd since they are exhibited on the exterior patio outside whitespace.  The exterior crows create instantaneous intrigue for anyone who notices their presence.  The gatherings of crows cluster outside one of the large window walls and seamlessly continue to the other side of the glass inside the gallery space.  Each crow is unique: some seem enthralled by a specimen on the ground while others are frozen in the midst of what should be a wild motion.  Ultimately, these sixty-two crows have chosen their gathering space because of its close proximity to “The Banshee and Her Conspiracy”, a large painted plywood installation of a reclining nude that takes over an entire wall in the gallery.  The sight in its entirety is mesmerizing, disorienting but also strangely logical.  The placement of the crows and their relationship with the wall installation make sense and the viewer is pulled into the scene.

Both large glass doors were left open on Friday night so visitors could wander from outdoors into either room of whitespace.  If the clustering crows did not entice you to enter the Carriage Room, then the massive portrait covered with crawling cockroaches was enough to draw you into the Stable Room.  Entitled “Cockroach Shepherd”, this large plywood wall installation depicts a rather serious man with large black paper cockroaches crawling up his shoulders and onto his face.  Some cockroaches have fallen from the installation wall and lay haphazardly along the gallery floor.

Adjacent to “Cockroach Shepard”, visitors will encounter the aluminum silhouettes of three large black dogs.  These figures have a confident stature and seem to survey the gallery space from their installation spot.

Haffner intends for the crows, cockroaches, and dogs to act as three main characters in his exhibition.  These animals embody important characteristics of deities from mythology and oral narratives that drive the inspiration of the show:  crows can be equated to the messengers, guides, and watchmen of the world, cockroaches suggest everlasting life, and dogs are considered guardians.

In addition to presenting these three characters, The Old Gods and Their Crumbling City also aims to incorporate salvaged urban materials in mixed-media works.  Haffner has strategically spray painted the surfaces of scavenged signs, panels, and rusted steel to create various compositions found in an urban environment.  The large wall installations, individualized crows and cockroaches, and engaging compositions displayed have left whitespace buzzing with activity.


Written by: Margaret Gregg

Photo Courtesy of: Erin Branch

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The First Fifteen Minutes of the Third Hour

In addition to his installation of new objects, wall drawings and works on paper, most created specifically for whitespace, Pete Schulte has introduced a unique soundtrack to accompany viewers during their visit to whitespace.

The First Fifteen Minutes of the Third Hour is excerpted from a three-hour live sound installation originally performed by Andrew Raffo Dewar (soprano saxophone, electronics) and Brad Davis (electronics) in conjunction with Schulte’s exhibition A Letter Edged In Black, which took place at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2013.  That performance was recorded and subsequently pressed on a 12-inch vinyl record that plays continuously as part of a new sculpture in Schulte’s current exhibition (on view until March 28th).

The dissonant and varied sounds produced in The First Fifteen Minutes of the Third Hour create a surreal experience for visitors as they negotiate the unique gallery area of whitespace. In addition to the noises being produced by the musicians, one hears footsteps and faint chatter from the previous exhibition, which in combination serves to effectively and eerily meld the two experiences together.

A Letter Edged In Black – the record – is a collaboration between Schulte, Dewar, Davis and Jessica Peterson of The Southern Letterpress. Peterson helped to design and expertly print the beautiful envelope that holds the screen-printed vinyl. The project, which more closely occupies the terrain of a limited edition print rather than a typical record, has been a labor of love – two years in the making.  Please contact whitespace for additional information.

Photo Courtesy of: Virginia Jackson

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Opening Reception of “Build A Fire” by Pete Schulte

Below freezing temperatures couldn’t keep the crowd away this past Thursday evening at whitespace gallery for the opening reception of Build A Fire. Pete Schulte’s newly installed exhibition incorporates graphite drawings, large wall drawings, three-dimensional pieces, and a music component.  Schulte created all of these works with the particular gallery spaces of whitespec and whitespace in mind.  Visual and conceptual themes carry from one piece to the next in a subtle and pleasing manner.  Schulte intends for his work to suggest varying meanings and encourages viewers to actively discuss their thoughts and ideas during their visit.

Discussion is exactly what ensued Thursday night.  Both main rooms in whitespace were filled with people experiencing Build A Fire for their first time.  Everyone had the luxury to openly converse with Schulte about his work and inspirations.  If they weren’t picking Schulte’s brain, groups were speculating amongst one another: What is the significance of the instrumental music?  How does “The Clock” tell time?  Are the grooves in “The Clock” related to the grooves on the vinyl record featured in “A Letter Edged In Black”?

A steady flow of people braved the cold to venture over to whitespec, a small project space, to view an additional two pieces featured in Build A Fire.  The pieces in whitespec nicely demonstrate Schulte’s thoughtfulness throughout his creation and installation process.  The first piece, “X”, confronts the viewer as they enter whitespec.  The stark white form of the X wraps around its dark graphite counterpart to create the illusion that the drawing is receding in space.  “X”, located on the wall facing the entrance, draws the visitor into the physical space of whitespec.  Next, one encounters “Lying In State”, a 144 inch-long three-dimensional rectangular aluminum piece.  “Lying In State” rests peacefully in the middle of the brick floor and is surround by bare brick walls that have been painted white.  The expanse of the piece invites the viewer to circumnavigate the entire space and view the object from all angles.

Every other work featured in whitespace was designed and installed with just as much intention and thought as the two pieces in whitespec.  “Broken Line Drawing”, another aluminum piece, is installed in a main room of whitespace.  Many visual similarities can be noticed when comparing “Lying In State” and “Broken Line Drawing”.  It is thought provoking to consider each aluminum object with the other in mind.  Visitors will find themselves revisiting certain works and drawing new connections after they encounter other pieces later on in the exhibit.  The deliberate attention given to the placement of each piece within whitespace creates a unique, introspective experience for every visitor.

Written by: Margaret Gregg

Photo Courtesy of: Erin Branch

Installation photos of the show: here

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Whitespace Hosts Talk with Featured Artist Beth Lilly

This past weekend Beth Lilly held an engaging talk at Whitespace.  In order to convey her inspiration for her current show, A Moving Image of Eternity, Lilly briefed her audience on her childhood and adolescent years.  Just as she was entering her teenage years, Lilly and her family moved from Atlanta to Snellville, Georgia.  Laughing, she explained how the drastic change from constantly being surrounded by friends to suddenly being completely isolated in middle-of-nowhere Georgia drove her a little crazy.  The climax of her story, though, came when she was finally old enough to drive.  Lilly found solace on Georgia’s interstate roads.  Suddenly, she was removed from the seclusion of her family home in Snellville.  Lilly explained how her hours spent driving led her to understand the concepts of human restlessness and the constant yearning for change.  The interior of her car felt familiar and still, like her inner conscience.  Her exterior environment, however, was in constant motion.  During her drives, Lilly was accompanied by many other cars—all individuals sharing a common motive to move.

Her four current photo series, featured at Whitespace through February 14th, recall Lilly’s experiences and thoughts from her countless drives.  “Lost in Thought”, a nine piece series, nicely demonstrates how Lilly translates her beliefs about the human condition of restlessness to her photography.  Each photograph involves a clear image of an individual or individuals totally absorbed in their conscience.  The stillness of the vehicle they are in represents this intimacy.  The blurred background of their exterior environment is a portrayal of restlessness and change.

In order to capture these particular images, Lilly set her camera lens on a slow shutter speed.  The camera was set up on a tripod in the passenger seat of her car and faced out the window.  Lilly scouted the cars surrounding her for interesting subjects as she drove on the interstate roads of Atlanta.  Once she determined a subject, she would drive alongside the car and use a handheld remote to take photographs with her camera.  Lilly also slyly mentioned that her camera lens hid the flash as she snapped a photo, so drivers around her would not know if or when their image had been captured.  Since the camera was moving at the same speed as Lilly’s subjects when the photographs were taken, the subjects and their cars appear sharp in the final image. The surrounding environment, however, was whizzing by as the camera captured the image, so every other aspect of the photograph appears blurred.  This technique is called panning.

Lilly explains how these nine photographs suggest a departure from reality.  This concept is enhanced by the blurriness and black and white print of each final image.  Each photograph is printed on Kozo paper, a type of Japanese tissue paper.  Kozo is made up of strongly bonded fibers that do not absorb the ink of the image; instead, the ink remains on the surface.  Each image appears to lightly float atop the surface of the Kozo paper—further communicating a fleeting moment in time that is subject to change.

The additional three photo series featured in Lilly’s current exhibit at Whitespace display equally unique, and sometimes humorous, approaches implemented by Lilly in her endeavor to capture and communicate the inevitable states of the human condition.


Written by: Margaret Gregg

Photo Courtesy of: Erin Branch


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Amy Pleasant Makes her Whitespace Debut with “re /form”


For the first show of the new year, whitespace gallery will exhibit re/form by Amy Pleasant, her whitespace debut, featuring new works in a variety of media, including paintings, drawings, and objects.

Amy Pleasant’s long nurtured interest in archeology and relics is formative in her work, and her new show acts as an archeological dig of her past works. While her previous works unfold like storyboards, recording the repetitive activities of everyday life, Amy’s new works are a more refined, less narrative effort to excavate the smaller moments of everyday life.

With re/form, Amy continues to explore her interest in gesture and marks and presents drawings that oscillate between simplicity and complexity. Using simple, singular strokes, Amy creates images that retain the qualities of a specific gesture or convey a particular tone that is recognizable to the viewer.

The physical uniqueness of the gallery space at whitespace served as an additional inspiration for the new body of work and influenced how she approached the series. She drew from the building materials and reflected on the utilitarian use of the gallery to explore how people inhabit space. The exhibition incorporates source material and invites the audience to consider how the history of the figure in art has shaped our understanding of the human experience. In this way, the space itself is treated as a component of the installation with the work and the space “animating” each other.

Amy Pleasant received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from The Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA. She has held solo exhibitions at Jeff Bailey Gallery, NY; The Birmingham Museum of Art; The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center; CANDYLAND, Stockholm, Sweden; Rhodes College; Tandem Gallery; The Ruby Green Center for Contemporary Art; and The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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