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.