Mar 19, 2012
Humboldt State University First Street Gallery presents Projections: Paintings and Mixed Media by Erin Whitman, a lecturer in the Art Department at Humboldt State. The exhibit will run from April 3 through May 13, 2012.
Erin Whitman’s current work examines how popular culture informs our collective concept of the future. Writers, artists, and filmmakers have created nightmarish visions of the future throughout the twentieth century. Since the turn of the millennium, the apocalypse genre has become a dominant force in modern entertainment. Whitman’s paintings and mixed-media works in Projections are based on apocalyptic images and themes culled from 80 years of film, television and video games. This new body of work further develops her blend of over-the-top narration and theatrics, presenting this show, Projections, as a compendium of our culture’s anxieties.
With this current body of work, Whitman is investigating the apocalypse genre, specifically the imagery generated by film and television that has come to feed and be fed by our collective imagination. Whitman states that, “By reconstructing and deconstructing these cinematic fantasies, I am exploring our cultural anxieties, and my own. Somewhere between kitsch and horror, these images show us a familiar landscape. They show us our potential for self-destruction, and reveal our current world, albeit through the screen’s dark glass.”
For example, Whitman draws from an iconic scene in the film Logan’s Run—a scene depicting the Lincoln Memorial, ruined over time, reclaimed by nature, its columns overtaken by vines. The artist’s gestural rendering of this film’s scene underscores a thematic tension underlying the image. This building, an achievement of mankind, meant to withstand the test of time, is crumbling and succumbing to the forces of nature. A recurring theme in the exhibition is Whitman’s observation of society’s faith in technology, subverted by collective anxiety about our advancements, which could result in an apocalypse. “Although this work indulges the darkness, its narrative arc is based on a personal hope for redemption, and my belief in our capacity for change”, states Whitman.
Whitman, a native of California, received her undergraduate degree at Humboldt State University. She graduated magna cum laude double degree in Studio Art and Art History with a minor in Creative Writing in 2003. She went on to receive her MFA in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2006. She currently lectures in drawing and painting at Humboldt State University.
A reception for Erin Whitman’s Projections will be held Saturday April 7th, 2012 during Eureka’s monthly Arts Alive event. Erin Whitman will present an Artist’s Talk and Tour of her exhibition on April 28 at 3 p.m. The talk is free and open to the public. Celebrating its fourteenth year of service to HSU students and to the North Coast community, the gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m., located at 422 First Street Eureka, Calif. Admission is free. Those planning group tours are encouraged to call ahead. For more information, call 707-443-6363 or visit the gallery’s website at humboldt.edu/first.