Douglas Witmer, “School Papers (2013-8).” 2013. Black gesso and china marker on found paper.
© Douglas Witmer. Courtesy of the artist.

My dad gave me the paper sometime in 2005…and the first “School Papers” pieces are dated January 2006. I’m not sure I thought in terms of notation so much as the paper itself and the fact my dad gave it to me reminded me of my childhood; perhaps that allowed me to begin with a certain spirit of play. There certainly was zero intention to begin a major body of work in 2006. I had also seen the Tantra drawings for the first time in late 2004 and they had/have a very deep impact on me. The buff color and pulpy texture of the school paper reminded me of them…”

This from painter Douglas Witmer in email last night. Now, a large group of Witmer’s “School Papers” spanning nearly 8 years of activity are currently on view at Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia. (Through December 28, so hurry.) They are mixed media works on a particular school-grade writing paper removed from tablets estimated to be between 30-40 years old. Witmer began making work using the paper in early 2006, but did not exhibit the works until nearly 5 years later.  The series now numbers over 200 individual pieces.

From Dennis D’Alesandro, writing about Witmer’s “School Papers” 2011 debut:

His blocking in of vast pools of robust color gives these smallish works a visual presence not often experienced in paintings so small. Although the designs may come off as a bit pastiche, often evoking the sublime abstract expressionist sensibilities of the 1960s, it’s Witmer’s choice to employ this minimal language onto the notebook paper that keeps the viewer involved and the works fresh, like they were torn out of some important text of abstract hieroglyphs.

Coming soon: Tilted Arc will debut a new project by Douglas Witmer combining newly released works “School Papers” paired with notational writing that considers provisionality, casualism, intentionality, and the relevance of time and progression as it relates to making this distinct body of work. Stay tuned.

Geometry As Sign
Timothy App
Douglas Witmer

December 3 – 28, 2013
Gross McCleaf Gallery
127 S Sixteenth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Related Posts:

© Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.