Painting the American Anti-Story

Hurricane Sandy  update – The opening Reception will now be on Thursday, Nov. 8th from 6-9pm.

Painting the American Anti-Story” project is an ongoing body of work that strives to open a space between the viewer and the art; and between the point of recognition of an identifiable form and the abstract.

By ignoring structural conventions of traditional narrative paintings, Withers’ anti-story paintings interrupt the flow of abstract shapes and forms with the familiar or nostalgic, causing a pause in the viewing pace, as if a lightning strike across the setting of an implied narrative. This pause causes a flash of possibilities for a story by suggesting a direction that the viewer can take in forming a narrative.
Withers states, “I want the viewer, upon seeing my paintings, to add their layer of creativity to mine. An addition should exist with each viewing, and with each viewer; layer upon layer of interpretation, what someone else sees changing what someone else saw initially, and so on, to some point over time to when it no longer is my painting and my creativity, but instead is now fully owned by the viewer, becoming their own changing narrative.”
The flat black and white houses are from Withers’ childhood growing up in Texas and are the static iconography of a fast becoming American past: tiny company houses where the roughnecks lived, old-style telephone poles and pumpjacks. The eyes connected by tendrils and the red enamel mouths are images that Withers has been trying to figure out for more than fifteen years, when after a severe migraine, she found that she had scribbled an eye in black marker on the bottom of her shower curtain. Not knowing why she drew an eye, or even remembering having drawn it, it became the genesis of a figure that she’s been trying to puzzle out in her paintings. In her current work, that figure has morphed into a mouth and eyes and has become a recurring player in these anti-stories.

infinitely divisible matter, mattered less and less

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About Margaret Withers

Margaret Withers’ has shown her artwork in group and solo shows in New York City and nationwide, and internationally in Brussels, Australia, Berlin, China, Vienna and Russia. She has also exhibited at The Drawing Center in New York City, Monmouth Museum in New Jersey, MarinMOCA in California and Attleboro Museum in Massachusetts. Her art and art mashups have been featured in multiple journals including the New England Review, Alexandria Quarterly and the Library as Incubator Project. Her paintings range from the abstract to surreal, to expressionism and landscapes, to investigations of the culture and ideas surrounding ‘home’, communication, machinery, monsters and translation. Her work is included in numerous private and corporate collections, including Truninger AG in Zurich, Switzerland. She is represented by Arcilesi | Homberg Gallery in New York City, William Baczek Fine Art in Northampton, MA and C Emerson Fine Art in Tampa Florida. She lives and paints in Manhattan, New York.
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