Jack Whitten’s early studio practice was rooted in the leadership roles he took on in the American South during the Civil Rights movement. After moving to New York, Whitten worked alongside the Abstract Expressionists—an early series included large-scale gestural paintings dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. He later experimented with the removal of his own brushstroke, instead scraping paint across the surface of the canvas long before Richter, using Afro combs and rakes to create texture and pattern. In his recent work, Whitten uses tiles of dried acrylic paint to create intricate mosaics and collages, consistently questioning figures of political power and cultural influence.
Jack Whitten is represented by Alexander Gray Associates in New York City and Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp, Belgium. His work is included in the 2013 Venice Biennale and in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, among others.