Jessica Worthey receives an Honorable Mention Commendation in the Whitaker Foundation Fall 2018 Art History Scholarship program

Jessica Worthey, a student at Tarrant County College, was awarded an Honorable Mention commendation for her essay in the Whitaker Foundation Art History Fall 2018 Scholarship Program. Her hometown is Fort Worth, Texas. The essay writer was asked to describe the differences in the way watercolor artists Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker approached architecture.

The two watercolors used as examples in the essay question were Frederic’ Whitaker’s Baroque Façade, 1968 and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s Horton Plaza, 1980s.

Her essay: 

Frederic and Eileen Whitaker are both accomplished representational watercolorists, especially with their works with architecture. Though both worked with architectural subjects, each artist possesses a vastly different style of rendering and defining these constructs from one another.

To begin, Frederic Whitaker’s Baroque Façade possesses a more classical approach when it comes to depicting architecture in Fine Art. The artist excels at interpreting the finest details that supply the work superb dimension, truly defining the most intricate and defining features that give life to something most people find rigid and stale. The richness of the colors used, especially so with the deep dusty blue sky that lifts the foreground into focus, grab the viewer’s attention and pull them in into discovering all of the ornate details the building has to offer. The brightness of the tree in the very front also aids in this focusing of the building as well, as it helps to alleviate the overwhelming presence the building could have as it takes up the majority of the piece, and also works to center and solidify the position of the façade itself as one in between the two rich colors.

One detail in particular that caught my eye, as it most likely did to others as well, was the subtle hint of blue in the concave cavity of the rose window and the dark blue the window holds itself. This pop of color led me to other features around the window: the deep green shadows surrounding the sun-like disk feature, leading my eye up and around to the hints of bright green defining where the sculptures defined themselves from the cornice-like structure of the façade, and eventually to the top where the flat of the building was colored with earthy red hues, which caught my attention by being complimentary to the greens I had just seen. All of these pops of color are appealing to viewers, as buildings do not inherently bear these hues and can be seen, as I mentioned before, as stale. These subtleties in the change of color in which Frederic Whitaker defined the building’s façade of complex Baroque architecture is still realistic and gives the work as a whole a stated presence to the viewer, all while being stylistic to Whitaker’s tastes and appeal.

The Baroque style is known for its dramatic presence in the art world, especially present in the variety and stark contrasts with lights and shadows. This intensity is not lost with Whitaker’s rendition and it is clear the artist wanted to keep true to the original craftsmanship of the building, and he did so by vividly enhancing the many defining features, especially so in the main focus of Baroque Façade, including the tympanum, the rose window, and ornate sculptures that lie above the main portal into the building. Whitaker aimed to enhance the beauty that was already present, rather than morphing the subject into an artificial spectacle.

While Frederic Whitaker’s depiction of architecture is based on staying true to the composition of said architecture while making the subject more appealing to viewers, Eileen Whitaker’s approach to the same subject is much more stylized and even abstract.

In her piece Horton Plaza, Eileen disassociates the façade of the building with all other architectural and infrastructural features that may surround it. The building is only encompassed by fading and blended patches of color: a light blue wash above the top, possibly implying the presence of the sky, and light earthy red washes along the right, left, and below the building, most likely suggesting the presence of other buildings and terrain. Even so, there is little sense of solid space, as the wall depicted has no defined edges on the bottom or on either side, essentially freeing the wall of feeling stagnant or solid, characteristics that are typically associated with architecture. Earthy brown colors are used for the interior past the arches which exude feelings of warmth and security, which contrasts the vibrant and dark exterior that can be interpreted colder which pushes the structure out and suggests a feeling of space. Even with the prominent placement of the street lamp in the foreground, the lamp trails off to fade away at the same place the building does, so while the lamp gives the viewer a sense of where the building is placed in space, it is not concrete. Due to the way the artist created the wall, which can be described as free-willed and fluid, the subject becomes organic in a way that allows more human interpretations, such as feelings and emotions, to the work.

In this way, Horton Plaza is personable and lively in a way the actual structure cannot be. The use of colors is tactical, as Whitaker only uses very few varieties, including black, yellow, brown, red, and blue. With the limited use of colors, the expectation for the outcome of the piece would be one that is, again, stale. The ways she manipulated the watercolors is what gives her artwork life; the ill-structured and fading strokes of watercolor coupled with the sporadic lines of splashed paint across and around the subject give so much character to the already nontraditionally painted building. Through her methods, it is assumed that the feelings produced by the architecture, such as excitement and warmth, were experienced at the actual site and reproduced into the work presented. Horton Plaza is almost ethereal in this way, almost as if it is otherworldly because of the fluidity and personified character she granted to the work. The way Eileen Whitaker depicts her architectural subjects is exciting, carefree, and abstract in that she does not let the typical structural norms that come along with architecture define or take over her work.

Hailey Thrasher receives Honorable Mention for her essay in the Whitaker Foundation Fall 2018 Scholarship program

Hailey Thrasher, a student at Jacksonville University, was awarded an Honorable Mention commendation for her essay in the Whitaker Foundation Art History Fall 2018 Scholarship Program. Her hometown is Anderson, South Carolina. The essay writer was asked to describe the differences in the way watercolor artists Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker approached architecture.

The two watercolors used as examples in the essay question were Frederic Whitaker’s Baroque Façade, 1968 and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s Horton Plaza, 1980s.

Her essay: 

Each artist carves out a certain style for himself over the course of his career that makes his paintings wholly unique. His body of work takes on a distinguishable and iconic style, much the same way that handwriting is entirely unique to every individual. Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker were both known for their paintings of architecture. However, they each approached this subject matter in very different ways.

 

In “Baroque Facade,” Frederic Whitaker takes a very calculated, formalized approach. His color palette is limited, relying mostly on shades of gray, brown, or blue to define his surfaces. He builds his colors slowly, layer upon layer–starting barely more than transparent and gradually building more pigment into the painting. However, through his many layers of watercolor, Frederic Whitaker never loses the hallmark lumosity of the medium.

 

This is indicative of many hours spent honing his skills and knowledge as an artist. Further evidence of his background as an artist is found in his linework. His lines are extremely crisp, and, if one looks closely, one can even make out the faint markings of his linework underneath the watercolors.

 

“Baroque Facade” is a highly detailed, tonal study of light and shadow. With this light and shadow he depicts depth. The viewer is able to distinguish foreground from background. In this space, Frederic Whitaker seems to inject a somber reverence, as if all life ceases simply to worship this structure. Frederic Whitaker takes great care to preserve every painstaking detail of the architecture. Every acanthus leaf, filigree, projection, and recession is captured.

 

The building is large and takes up most of the paper, save for a small tree in front. His choice to make the architecture this prodigious commands respect from the viewer as well. Furthermore, the sky in the background is quite dark and verges on being ominous. This adds not only a unifying theme of color to the piece, but also another indication that this building is larger and more prestigious than human life.

 

Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s approach in “Horton Plaza” is vastly different. Her piece is less structured, but no less thoughtful. Where her husband studied light and shadow, she examines color and the voice it gives to a painting. She makes her entire painting with mostly primary colors. One can make out her wild uses of cerulean, crimson, and a golden rust. Her vibrant colors bleed together, as do her foreground and background. In her wet-on-wet technique, the viewer discovers a mottling of the aforementioned colors. Dribbles of red, blue, and rust cover the paper in implied lines. She directs the viewer in diagonals across the page, stopping at areas of light and human life. These implied lines suggest movement or activity.

 

Her colors are not the only vibrant part of her painting–so is the atmosphere. Where “Baroque Facade” is devoid of the human form, “Horton Plaza” is teeming with life. One can make out the delicate human forms carefully perched under the archways.

 

Unlike her husband, she places much more importance on the human forms, rather than the structure itself. Her architecture is unhinged from the rest of the work. It floats in the middle of the page with only her abstract splashes of color and a small lamppost to consume the negative space. Her loose brushstrokes imply her painting was conducted hurriedly, as if to preserve a quickly passing moment in history.

 

Frederic Whitaker commands respect, whereas Eileen Monaghan Whitaker invites the viewer to indulge in the great contrast of colors and take in the life that is happening around.

 

“Horton Plaza” is a celebration of the brevity and fullness that is human life.In Frederic Whitaker’s “Baroque Facade” and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s “Horton Plaza,” both artists approach architecture as a subject matter. Both artists also use their academic backgrounds to skillfully carry out these paintings.

 

Frederic Whitaker applies his knowledge and skill to carefully depicting the captivating light and shadow and quiet awe for the structure.

 

On the other hand, Eileen Monaghan Whitaker uses her hours of practice and skill to study the deep connection between color and the range of human emotion. She makes full use of her palette with a loose brush to indicate a rushed enthusiasm, as if she is capturing a setting sun.

 

Each artist went to great lengths to push the boundaries of his or her work. Decades later, one is still able to discern the defining characteristics that set Frederic Whitaker’s “Baroque Facade” apart from Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s “Horton Plaza” as simply and easily as if one was comparing handwriting.

Logan Magee receives Honorable Mention for Whitaker Art Foundation 2018 Fall Scholarship program

Logan Magee, a student at The New School, has received an Honorable Mention Commendation from the Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Fine Art Scholarship program for her watercolors, Celestial Body 1 and Celestial Body 2. Logan, whose hometown is New Orleans, Louisiana won a $2,000 Whitaker Foundation scholarship in 2017.

In her artist statement she wrote:  

Celestial Body 2, 2017, 8″x10″, watercolor, Logan Magee

This past school year was my first year in college, at The New School, to study at Parsons School of Design and Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts. Upon moving to a new city, a new school, with new people, I promised myself to stay true to myself during a time of immense change. While being handed stacks of projects every week, in each assignment I made an effort to find some truth about my own art, or rather, to learn a new way to design my truth.

Second semester, after dealing with issues sourcing from homelife, I began exploring my emotions and my body in a way that I felt I could universalize for others to relate to. I am a highly empathic being. When I think of the emotional content I discuss in my work, I’m inadvertently made to understand that others experience some of the same feelings. When I think of visual motifs I use, I know that others will see a piece of themselves reflected in it in some way. Therefore, anytime I search for an answer to something in myself, I also feel that I gain an understanding of how other people work.

What I explore in my art is questions of being. Recently, I have produced multiple pieces on the concept of space, and whose bodies are allowed to take up space. This idea spurned from my own experiences in going to art college, in which I was often the only person of color or black student in my classes. I felt that my presence in the class was exemplary of the little space given to black people both in higher education and in the art world. I felt small. Throughout the year, I thought about how systematically, some bodies are not given the same amount of space, either socially or physically, as other bodies. In the pieces submitted for the Whitaker and Monaghan scholarship, I explored this concept of space in regard to feminine bodies.

I explored this idea through the lens of fashion, and how fashion advertisements tend to make women look smaller. Not only that, but the women shown are usually white, cisgendered, and skinny. To subvert this gender hegemony, I produced two watercolor images of femme-identifying people of color, in poses that are open and wide compared to the restraining poses women are usually displayed in. I also had both models wear puffer jackets, which are articles of clothing that are non-gender specific and consume a large amount of space. I felt that the puffer jacket was the perfect clothing item to serve as the antithesis for the limited space given to mainstream models.

In the future, I would like to continue to explore space as a social construct. I would also like to create more works about emotion and physical state, within myself and larger populations. Being in New York has allowed me to delve into these concepts in an expansive environment, and I believe being in the city has benefitted me overall. Receiving the Whitaker and Monaghan scholarship would be extremely helpful to my staying in the city, as I am no longer receiving financial help from my father, and would not like to burden my mother with extra costs. I was fortunate enough to receive the award last year, and it greatly supported my school project expenditure, as well as books and supplies. For that, I am deeply grateful, and give many thanks to the Foundation for being a big part of my first year in college.

Lauren Taylor Coney receives Honorable Mention in Whitaker Foundation Fall 2018 Fine Art Scholarship Program

Lauren Taylor Coney, a student at Ringling College of Art and Design, received an Honorable Mention Commendation from the Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Fine Art Scholarship program for her watercolor, Tea House. Her hometown is Newburgh, Indiana.  In her artist statement she wrote: 

Lauren Taylor Coney watercolor Tea House 2017

Tea House, 2017, 8.5″x11″, Lauren Taylor Coney

I attend Ringling College of Art and Design in hopes that I will be able to succeed in my dreams of being a professional artist one day. It has always been my dream to do so and I haven’t slowed down in my studies and experimentation yet. Not only do I spend from 8:30 a.m.to usually around 2:30 a.m. working on nothing but improving in my artwork, but I also am a Student Ambassador and work events for my school for 2 years now as well as a club leader for 2 years who works and manages everything for a non-profit project I do for the Lazarus Program called the Veteran’s Portrait Project. During this project, we do portraits of local veteran’s in the Fall and then in the Spring semester, we hang them in a gallery show called the “Art of Bravery” show on Veteran’s Day and afterwards, donate the portraits to the veteran’s themselves.

I also was an Orientation leader last year and won the “Outstanding Leaders Award” given out by my school. I am also apart of my school’s student government and work about 8 hours or more a week in our school’s woodshop. I work very hard to be towards the top of my classes and have a very well standing in my school with the students and teachers.I of course do other things besides art, like sightseeing and spending time with friends, but there’s not a time when I’m not thinking about art or being inspired. Even in high school, even though mine did not have specific focuses like some, I took almost every art class my school had to offer and was involved in every art-related activity I could find. Rather it be my high school’s theatre productions that I helped manage backstage for, creating the tickets for the productions, or even just painting simple posters to announce upcoming spirit days, I had to be apart of them.

My dream is to one day be featured on the cover of a New Yorker, but what artist’s isn’t? I lean more towards graphic design and picture books rather than anything else, but I really enjoy a beautiful day out landscape painting, because what is more inspiring that the world around you?

My dream job would probably either be working for the company Illumination (who created movies like Despicable Me, Minions, Life of Pets, etc.) or freelancing for magazines because it’s always the illustration that prompts me to read an article or not and if it’s a popular magazine, my art will be showed to thousands. I also would like to come out with a children’s book one day and have it be some child’s favorite that they always keep for later on when they can read it to their own kids because I still have mine that I’m saving and I just find that to be so special, and I want to give that special experience to someone like the artists that I have gave to me.

I have a lot of high hopes and dreams, but they all have one thing in common and that’s art. I can’t see myself ever doing anything else unless it involves art. It’s been my passion ever since I can remember and I don’t see myself loving anything else as much as I do art.

Kimberley Zak receives Honorable Mention for Whitaker Foundation Fall 2018 Fine Art Scholarship

Kimberley M. Zak, a student at Boston University, has received an Honorable Mention Commendation from the received an Honorable Mention Commendation from the Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Fine Art Scholarship program for her watercolor, Don’t Itch

Don’t Itch, 2018, 12″x16″, watercolor by Kimberley Zak

Zak, whose hometown is Ranchos Palos Verde, California, is pursuing a dual degree in painting and psychology.

Her artist statement: As a student pursuing a dual degree in painting and psychology, I am deeply interested in the intersection between these two worlds—worlds that seem quite separate from one another at first glance but are, in reality and by nature, intricately connected. I believe that painting—particularly portraiture and figure painting—provides an incredible and unique avenue by which to explore the relationship between art and psychology; painting allows us to understand each other as people and, ultimately, uncover the human condition.

One of my primary goals as an artist is to create work that reflects the human experience and encourages self-reflection. Whether through examinations of physical existence, abstractions of mentality, or explorations of the intrapersonal journey, I strive to engage both the viewer and the artist—myself—in a connective and often metacognitive conversation about our experiences as people.The intrapersonal aspects I experience when creating a painting make the private process just as important to me—if not more so—as the final product.

In this sense, I am also deeply interested in creating work that reflects the process in such a way that the viewer can interact with and understand a painting as more than just the final product with which they are more typically acquainted. In addition, I constantly find myself grappling with the question of whether or not art must be conceptually accessible for people other than the artist; by searching for ways to expose the process to the viewer, I am continuing the conversation with the viewer and, in a way, with myself about accessibility and the psychological themes that intrigue me.For me, psychology is also profoundly intertwined with art history, and my studies in psychology and painting have augmented my fascination with history.

Studying art history and applying that education to our work as artists enables us to create relevant, meaningful, and impactful art. My work frequently draws inspiration from moments and concepts which I have discovered through my explorations of art history. This influence, though sometimes explicit, is often rather subtle and undetectable; its nature is sometimes deliberate and sometimes subconscious. It is through instances such as these that I find that the interconnection between art and psychology approaches interdependence.

In my academic career and beyond, I am aiming to enrich my experiences and my relationship with the world around me through art, psychology, and art history. I have been incredibly fortunate to cultivate my perspectives and ambitions in Venice, Italy, where I studied painting and art history for four months during my sophomore year. This extraordinary opportunity not only compelled me to challenge myself as an artist and as an individual, but also afforded me the tremendous privilege of broadening my understanding of art and art history—and, furthermore, the undeniable relationship that connects me as a growing artist in the twenty-first century to artists throughout history.

This global experience has informed my perception of art as it exists among and interacts with society, giving me a more multifaceted mindset with which to approach my studies as I prepare for life beyond university.Because I am earning two degrees in just four years, my course load is always full beyond capacity, and as a result I must take several classes each summer in order to complete both degree programs on time. The costs of these courses, naturally, are an added expense to college tuition such that my options as to where I can take these summer classes are somewhat limited based on what my family can currently afford. This scholarship would aid me and my family by supplementing some of the costs of my regular tuition, thus expanding the possibility for me to take the courses I need to next summer to graduate within four years.

As I enter the final half of my academic career and approach the next chapter of my life, I find myself daunted by the prospect of choosing between a career in art history and that in psychology. However, as I have experienced more of the world and grown as a result of my studies and explorations, I have come to the realization that these options are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I believe that these worlds are not merely related: they are inseparable. Whether as a future artist, psychologist, or art historian, I will continue to search for ways in which to build upon and vitalize the relationships I am exploring between these fields.