Jack Whitten’s work from the 1970s marks a juncture in his career in which he rejected the gestural brushstrokes of Abstract Expressionism and embarked on what would become a sustained interest in experimental processes and materials. Opening at Dia Beacon this fall is the first-ever exhibition devoted to Whitten’s Greek Alphabet (1975–78) painting series. Whitten used the Greek alphabet as the organizational principle of this landmark-yet-overlooked series, which consists of variations on abstract, black-and-white compositions and experiments in mark-making. For these works, he employed handmade tools and techniques including the comb, imprint, and frottage. Bringing together forty paintings from private and institutional lenders, this exhibition offers unique insight into a pivotal moment in his practice.
Jack Whitten was born in Bessemer, Alabama, in 1939. Whitten died in New York City in 2018.