Joanna Whittle

A Celebration of Painting, 2020

Contemporary British Painting Prize 2019 - winner

We are delighted that lovely Joanna Whittle was announced the winner of the Contemporary British Painting Prize 2019. As part of the award Joanna will receive as essay on their work by the very imminent Griselda Pollock and become a member of Contemporary British Painting and also a selector for the 2020 competition.

A Celebration of Painting - from a conversation with Joanna Whittle by Griselda Pollock

The winning painter of the Contemporary British Painting competition in 2019 painted the smallest paintings in the exhibition. They were also the most profoundly painterly.This combination of qualities is already intriguing in an era that has inherited the massive expansion of size effected by the Abstract Expressionists in the mid twentieth century in order to make us acknowledge painting for itself. It is also fascinating that Joanna Whittle began in that tradition, making large, gestural, layered, abstract paintings about painting. Her works, she tells me, were immersive seeking and creating a sense of ever-expanding or even limitless space. I then discover that she grew up in desert landscapes in the Middle East. Deserts are remarkable places. They dispossess us of own sense of scale, place, and confound our rationality. It is no surprise that in three inter-relating monotheisms of the world, the invisible deity is encountered ‘behind the desert’. In more banal Western artistic terms, deserts might be considered the defeat of landscape. Deserts are endlessly fascinating and yet without the stabilising features that engender form and create a scene to delight the roving eye……

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