Vagua Bisbille: Momentum Tulsa 2013 Spotlight Artist Stuart Whitis

September 30, 2013

Momentum | ,

As a part of Momentum Tulsa, three artists received $2,000 Momentum Spotlight commissions to create new artwork. The Momentum Spotlight artists receive cash commissions and three months of interaction with the guest curators. Selected Momentum Spotlight artists are Leigh Martin of Edmond, Stuart Whitis of Norman, and Molly Youngblood from Norman.

Using technology and traditional painting techniques to refer to historical painting styles, Stuart Whitis’s received one of three Spotlight awards for Momentum Tulsa for his work Vagua Bisbille, which will debut October 12.

Artist Stuart Whitis painting in his studio

Whitis digitally manipulates the coding of images of famous classical artworks in order to glitch the colors and formats of the file, then meticulously paints the pixels. In Vagua Bisbille, Whitis works from William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s famous neo-classical works and comments on “state-of-the-art” technology, in past painting, and in new artistic media. 

Two of Bouguereau’s works are digitally paired and distorted to complete the image for an eight foot by twelve foot oil painting, separated into three panels. Through high-key colors, Whitis’s blend of old and new challenges the source material’s style choices.

Digital mock-up of Vagua Bisbille

Just as Bouguereau aimed to challenge the Impressionists, who were inspired by photographic technology to diverge from realistic painting, Whitis aims to “confound the timeline of visual documentation” through large “digitally impressionistic imagery”.

Whitis comments on the nature of classical standards while distorting the reality of the piece, and playing with idea of what is permanent, and thus commenting on the decay of his own artistic media.

Momentum Tulsa opens October 12, 8-midnight with a ticketed event full of music and performances.  Curated by Emily Kern from 108 Contemporary and emerging curator Krystle Brewer, the exhibition continues at Living Arts of Tulsa, 307 E Brady with free gallery hours through October 24.