Category Archives: Art Opening

Happiness Project

Happiness Project by Didi Dunphy is a critical examination of high design via commodification, craft and fantasy. Her emphasis lies within the making of each piece, the things unseen.

QVC, a startling collection of photographs of gorgeous rings displayed against pink backgrounds with doily-like borders, is a fantastical exploration of the commodity.  Despite the piece’s obvious allusion to QVC, the shopping TV channel, the images cite more than simply online shopping desires. The depictions of individual rings draw attention not only to their own intricacies and precious stones, but to the human hand, the wearer, the individual behind the jewelry. Though none of the images acknowledge in any way, other than that they are objects for hands themselves, the wearer or the individual, their congruence along an entire wall of whitespace paints a portrait of ownership. QVC is a portrait, perhaps not of any one specific individual, but of the nature of the commodity itself. Rings are objects of personal augmentation, and though they are mere objects, there is a story behind the acquisition of each one. In displaying images of jewelry meant to be worn, what is unseen is precisely what is emphasized, in this case, humanity and its relationship to the commodity.  In QVC, the viewer is presented only with the rings themselves, left to wonder about the rest, the story, the history. The viewer must discern information from the presentation of each individual ring in order to come to a conclusion, or simply enjoy the pieces as commodities themselves.

Not only do these rings cite the luxury of owning such objects, but other pieces, like Industrial Emoticon tip their caps, so to speak, to the banal. Dunphy, of course, in her project elevates these commonplace, albeit elegant, items to the lavish and fantastical. Industrial Emoticon alludes to the iconic 1960’s Arco lamp, a lavish commodity for any home during its peak of popularity. The overblown happy face, clouds and heart cut from plexiglass alter the iconic images of the Arco towards the fanciful and imaginative, taking high design to a place of play and visual communication. The bright colors and overblown qualities cite artists like Jeff Koons. Through Dunphy’s attention to popular culture depictions of emoticons and her alteration of the Arco, the banal is transformed into the unique, shiny and effervescent. Here, Dunphy has elevated previous conceptions of luxury objects to pop culture expressions of emotion. Alluding to the emoji, an emoticon used for expression, Dunphy juxtaposes the classic and iconic with the contemporary and technological.

Dunphy_CampfireDidi Dunphy, Campfire, 24 x 36 inches, lambda print on fuji flex mounted on plexi

Other designs similarly reference iconic objects and images. Hanging Garden mirrors a 70s shell lamp or night club curtains. All the Things I Can’t Live Without: Nails depicts images of Piet Mondrian’s Compositions with Red, Blue and Yellow, accomplishing similar messages of commodifying high art. Other acrylic nails depict images of hello kitty, clouds, colorful squares and flowers. These images, like QVC cite the hand, the individual behind each set of nails. Compared to Dunphy’s five intricately embroidered pieces, all place an emphasis on color, its brightness and shine, as well as handiwork, the work of craft. Both acrylic nail painting and embroidery are typically female gendered crafts and both represent objects acquired out of luxury or excess. Both reference the individual behind the work, the person who accomplished the project.

Several other pieces depict images of campfires, from sketches with smoke crafted from brightly colored and holographic teacher’s pet stickers, to a large hot-pink plexiglass print of woven colorful lanyards to Dunphy’s pink Donald Judd-like sculpture depicted below. These images reference the joys of childhood, the simplicity of that childhood happiness and the escape of camp. Placed next to Faerie Ring, photographs of faerie circle mushrooms, works like Picket, a fluorescent aluminum 8-foot propped fence and Twins, two chain link and picket fence tiaras, similarly to All the Things I Can’t Live Without: Nails, take part in depicting the other side of luxury, the hard work behind the exquisite. In some way, all of Dunphy’s work cites the excess of high design and extravagant living, and yet also references hard work, the skill of craft and the conceptual elements behind these facades of brightly colored, shiny beauty. Dunphy’s conceptual work is illuminated in this space between craft and luxury. Her attention to the intersections between design, pop culture, feminity, fantasy, and the unseen, are truly what make Happiness Project, an examination of much more than the objects themselves, but the conceptual as well. 

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Didi Dunphy, Fire Logs, size variable, wood, airbrushed paint

Written by: Hilleary Gramling

Abstraction Today

The exhibition, Abstraction Today, at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) opened Friday night at 6:30 p.m. The most prestigious and prominent art galleries in Atlanta compiled the artists’ works and the opening was filled with guests, a bar and merriment. Whitespace had the honor of participating in this collaboration with Alan Avery Art Company, Marcia Wood Gallery, Mason Fine Art, Sandler Hudson Gallery and {Poem 88}. With pieces from Pete Schulte, Ann Stewart, Bojana Ginn, Eric Mack and Seana Reilly, whitespace’s artists augmented the exhibition incredibly from wall paintings to 3D printed objects to sculpture. In conjunction with other artistic selections, the show was a congruent and diverse examination of what abstract art is in today’s contemporary world.

Though each artist presented their own negotiations of what it means to be abstract, the entire collection of art offered an exceptionally harmonious exhibition. whitespace artists in particular not only showed work that charged the white walls of MOCA GA, but also formed a coherent representation of the free-expression, intimacy, dialogue, and immersive environment whitespace strives to represent. The looming grace of Schulte’s wall painting alone overwhelmed the northern wall of one room, but reflected against the colorful and overwhelming wall work of Hense, added great contrast to envelop the night’s crowd.

IMG_8082Dark Day (Revelator Pt. 2), Pete Schulte, 2016

In a smaller room to the side, an installed projector and sculpture made of straws, paint and cotton by Ginn mirrored the pixelated, almost urban abstract landscape of Mack’s multi-medium work. Beautifully and breathtaking, Stewart’s 3D printed objects cast long and opaque shadows against the white walls of the space as one of the first works in view of the entrance of the exhibition. Across from Stewart, Susannah Starr’s large floral and vibrant neon cut-outs refracted the light via their own technique, presenting a delightful juxtaposition of shadow play for Stewart’s objects. And Reilly’s floor to ceiling canvases overwhelmed what was left of the room with their ombre and bleak exploration of gradient and texture.

Diamagnetic Liaison, Ann Stewart, 2016

What was best about Abstraction Today was the physical manifestation of the diversity and talent that can be found in Atlanta. Each artist’s work illuminated an aspect of its neighboring pieces and vice versa. The space was filled with detailed conversation, immense artistic exploration and wonder. The exhibition’s navigation of what it means to be abstract is a testament to the greatness of today’s contemporary art, not only in the world, but right here in Atlanta. From modern advances in technology, projection and 3D printing, to wall-painting, traditional sculpture and manipulation of found objects, the exhibition is a beautiful tapestry woven by the many threads of experimentation, risk, exploration and abstraction today.

Written by: Hilleary Gramling

“1.2 cm =” photography by Constance Thalken on view from January 11th through February 16th

“Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.” -Susan Sontag in Illness As Metaphor

Constance Thalken with whitespace artist, Suellen Parker at the opening of 1.2cm =

Thank you to everyone who came out for the opening of 1.2 cm = an exhibition of photography by Constance Thalken.  The exhibition addresses the paradoxical relationship between the smallness of an invasive tumor (1.2 cm) and complexity of its impact on the body and mind. The work speaks to Continue reading

"Some Sort of Solitude," new paintings by Tommy Taylor, opens Friday, February 24 | 7 – 10 PM

Tommy Taylor, Lost and Found, Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 32 inches
February 24 – March 31, 2012
Opening reception: Friday, February 24 | 7 PM – 10 PM 


Some Sort of Solitude, Tommy Taylor’s second solo show at whitespace gallery, demonstrates a new direction in Taylor’s work. Over the past twelve years, his paintings have been mainly abstract pieces with amoebic-like forms created from intuitive, as opposed to planned, brushstrokes. His work continues evolving, but even though it introduces figures and pop references, it still contains those amorphous, abstract elements of his previous work.
His reflection on the conflicting desires, drives, meanings, and logic that confounded him as a child showed Taylor that, while he can grasp the many layers on which that conflict plays out better, it is still just as characteristic of his adult experience as it was of his childhood. He gives expression to this by placing visual elements that are hard to understand in intentionally chaotic and confusing ways that exclude the traditional visual cues of painting, like his previous abstract work. As a result, he is thwarting any possibility of arriving at a coherent, consistent visual reading of the painting. Produced and displayed in this way, the elements compete with each other, just like the drives, histories, expectations, and accepted social norms of our daily lives.  

"Morning Sun" by Benita Carr opens TONIGHT

Morning Sun
photography and video installation by

Benita Carr

Morning Sun is an evolution in Benita Carr’s work that explores the mother/child relationship and the meaning of self within the domestic social structure of home and family.  Constructed as narrative tableaus, the photographs depict women and their children in scenes that evoke emotions of desire, doubt and anxiety.
Carr’s photographs and videos are informed by the ways in which womanhood and motherhood have been seen, understood and lived across time, especially their representation in art, religion, advertising and family pictures. These themes coupled with the style and symbolism of Mid-Victorian images of interiors and feminine subjects inspire her body of work.  Moving into video and sound challenges the form of traditional portraiture and allows other layers of meaning and complexity to surface.
The title of the series Morning Sun is a play on words and lends itself to various interpretations. While reminiscent of the overly sentimental language inherent in greeting cards, other connotations invoke feelings of loss and despair.
Carr is the recipient of many awards and grants including a 2002 Artist in Communities Initiative Grant that consisted of a collaboration on a photographic installation with women who had suffered severe spinal cord injuries and the Joyce Elaine Grant Award from Texas Women’s University in 2004. She exhibited the Infinity Project, a symbolic commentary on the endless cycles of violence created with her husband artist Evan Levy, at the Tate Modern in 2007.  Her photographs were also included in the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center 2005 Biennial, the Huntsville Museum of Art 2005 Triennial and in 2009 at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.  Her work is part of the permanent collection of The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.   
Exhibition dates:             January 13 – February 18, 2012  
Opening reception:
        Friday, January 13 | 7-10 pm
Gallery hours:
                Wednesday – Saturday | 11 am – 5 pm or by appointment 
Location:                         814 Edgewood Avenue | Inman Park
Media Contact:                Susan Bridges
                                       p 404.688.1892
                                       c 404.849.8176

Matt Haffner’s "Just Across the Tracks" opens tonight at whitespace

Matt Haffner, Talking to Strangers, silver gelatin prints (contact prints), installation dimensions variable
September 9 – October 15, 2011
Opening Reception:  Friday, September 9 | 7 PM – 10 PM    
Whitespace is pleased to present Just Across the Tracks, Matt Haffner’s first solo show at whitespace gallery.  The exhibition consists of a series of photograph portraits, sound recordings, collage works on paper, and a rotating diorama viewed through a camera obscura.  All of the pieces depict life in the space between the city and the suburbs with references to Haffner’s personal experiences.  
Talking to strangers is the central theme for the collage of portraits covering an entire wall in whitespace gallery.  Haffner sought out his subjects in the streets of Atlanta, engaging with the people around him instead of ignoring those passing by as they made their way through the city.  He used an older style camera with large film that took a few minutes to make an image. This afforded him the opportunity to start brief exchanges with these individuals while photographing them. This engagement sometimes opened people up to a conversation and to sharing surprising things about themselves. While taking the portraits, Haffner also made sound recordings that play within the gallery. Hearing the stories that his subjects shared and seeing this huge wall of portraits makes one look for the face that told the story. Haffner considers this the most honest work he has made to date.