Isaac Whitney

Isaac Whitney is a Leeds based artist, currently working from his studio space in Assembly House, Armley.

This series displays his transition into painting on large scale canvas, refining the evolving process into his first works shown publicly to date, with the majority created in the few months leading up to this exhibition. Isaac’s aim is to communicate the emotions there are no words for, and ignite the viewers imagination, emphasising depth and texture at the forefront of his paintings.

Whitney creates the dynamic textured surfaces in his works with thick layers of gesso paint, applied like plaster and sculpted into the desired composition. Using a mixture of heavily diluted acrylics and inks he builds up thin washes of colour over time, often having to tilt the canvas and guide the flow of liquid where he wants it, ensuring the pigment captures the character of the surface beneath. At times in the process the canvas is completely drenched, covered in a pool of water, or being blasted bone dry with a hair dryer. In essence he is mimicking a weathering effect, physically eroding the top layers of paint to reveal a hidden beauty beneath, achieving results similar to the drying of a river bed. Every ‘mistake’ is incorporated into the work, there is no correcting or going back. For Isaac this is a vital part of the process, and it is only upon looking back that he realises how integral each moment is to the final outcome.

It’s these details that he hopes will entice the viewer to spend more time with each piece developing their own unique understanding of it. Isaac sees his paintings as a snapshot in time, and a physical manifestation of the unconscious. His practice continues to act as an outlet capturing his current emotional state through abstractions, becoming a cathartic exercise.

“I draw inspiration from the ambiguous, an open ended finale, the song cut too short, a question without an answer, and believe any explanation of meaning would defeat the object of my artwork. I would much rather it serve as a catalyst for the daydreamers and the wandering mind.”