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Heidi Whitman: Lost Cities

Montserrat Gallery

August 26, 2015 - September 26, 2015

Reception: Sept 10, 5:00 – 7:30p

Events Hotline
978.921.4242 x3

Gallery Hours
Mon. – Wed. 10a – 5p
Thurs. 10a – 8p
Fri. 10a – 5p
Sat. 12p – 5p

Montserrat College of Art is pleased to announce, Lost Cities, a solo exhibition of mixed media constructions and drawings by Heidi Whitman. The exhibition focuses on Whitman’s exploration of mapping metaphorical states of mind, as well as implied physical places and events. Lost Cities brings together recent paper constructions with more than fifty mental map drawings. Whitman’s newest installation “Small World” (2015) references the increasing hyper-connectivity, urbanization, and migration in the contemporary world.

Whitman creates fictitious terrains that she calls “reimagined place.” She writes that, “the structure of the city and the structure of the mind are conflated” in her paper constructions. Whitman layers contemporary city grids and plans of ancient ruins while referencing mental networks. She creates a perfect balance in her topographical networks between chaos, structure, and reverie.

Sheets of cut and painted paper sprawl across the gallery wall and guide the viewer through an alien, yet familiar, terrain in the series, Lost Cities. The delicately sculpted paper casts dramatic shadows that extend along the surface of the wall. “Lost City of A” (2015), like others in this series, explores memory and the translation of dreams into reality. Painted with acrylic and gouache Whitman applies color to guide the viewer through internal and external worlds. Blue greens and reddish browns are in dialogue with what resembles tan ancient maps, as if to piece together past, present, and imaginary worlds.

“Hell” (2013) another paper construction of Whitman’s featured in her 2013 solo exhibition, Heaven, Hell and Here at Christopher Henry Gallery in New York will be on view in Montserrat Gallery. In contrast to the cool or earthy colors of the Lost Cities series, “Hell” depicts a fiery red underworld, appearing charred at parts, spiraling across the wall. Inspired by maps of Roman city ruins and Dante’s Inferno, Whitman creates her own thorny woods, circles of madness, and crimson rivers. While rooted in the classics and ancient history, “Hell” resonates in the present day as society reacts to war, aerial surveillance, and terrorism.

Director and Curator, Leonie Bradbury along with the artist, selected more than thirty exploratory drawings from the Uncharted Territory, Brain, andBrainstorm series (1998-2001) to span twenty-six feet of gallery wall, a first for Whitman in the display of her work. Arranged in a grid contrasted against a cadmium red painted wall, these pieces focus on thought, memory, and dream. Whitman says drawing is the medium with, “the most direct links between mind, eye, hand, and subject perceived.” These improvisational drawings on various tea-stained Japanese papers combine a kind of ancient aesthetic with a gestural and expressive focus on the uncharted territory of the mind. One might imagine the brain sorting through data or recalling memories in these drawings.

Lost Cities presents a willingness and eagerness by Whitman to play with boundaries and the infinite abyss. Between Whitman’s mental map drawings and her paper constructions, she communicates a spectrum of endless possibilities that take shape from imagining place beyond a singular perspective.

Heidi Whitman has exhibited internationally, most recently in The Art of Mapping at Tag Fine Arts in London. She has had two solo shows at the Christopher Henry Gallery in New York. Her other recent exhibitions include the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Scope Miami, the Boston Center for the Arts, Whitespace (Atlanta), Pierogi Gallery (Brooklyn), Wheaton College, the Boston Drawing Project, Clark University, The McMullen Museum of Art, the Southeastern Louisiana Contemporary Art Gallery, and Harvard College. Whitman’s work was featured in Katharine Harmon’s book The Map as Art, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2009. In 2007 Whitman completed a commission for the City of Cambridge, MA (Jill Brown-Rhone Park). Whitman is a recipient of the Clarissa Bartlett Traveling Scholarship awarded by the Trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts. She is presently a faculty member at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.


Heidi WhitmanExample