In Collective Actions, Martha Whittington’s workerist installation, Deus Ex Machina, is inspired by early factory labor environments. Her art objects evoke a time when the connection of the laborer to their work was invested and highly charged with craft and manual intelligence, in contrast to our own time, where work is made increasingly immaterial, virtual, and flexible. Whittington argues for the importance of the hand and making as a response to automation in contemporary culture, as do maker movements taking shape across the country.
As part of her installation, Whittington has made worker outfits and changing stations as well as a series of felt sculptures that resemble tools—squeegees, baskets and rakes—but are not. These specific forms are convincing decoys of functional objects, both skilled and deskilled. They impart the importance of touch and the hand of the maker. They invite play and tactile experience. A workstation in the gallery invites you to stamp a metal disk with your number, a memento of the exhibition reminiscent of worker i.d. tags.
MARTHA WHITTINGTON (Atlanta, Georgia) received her B.F.A. in Sculpture from the Kansas City Art Institute. She received her M.F.A. in Sculpture from Tyler School of Art. She has been the recipient of artist residencies at the Bemis Center in Omaha, Nebraska, Hambidge Center-Creative Arts in Rabun Gap, Georgia, and Go Elswhere in Greensboro, North Carolina. She has been awarded grants from the Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia (WAP), Office of Cultural Affairs Atlanta, Idea Capital Atlanta, Dashboard Coop Atlanta, and Austin Green. She has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally with shows at Moot Gallery, Hong Kong, Dans Kamera Istanbul, Turkey, Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville Florida, Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, and the AMOA-Laguna Gloria Austin Texas. Her work is held in the collections of Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, Savannah College of Art and Design Susan Bridges, Lavona Stringer Currie, Ree Kaneko, Marianne Lambert, Annette Cone Skelton. Whittington is a Professor of Foundation Studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Experience the Tactility of Work
Martha Whittington + Industries for the Blind
February 20, 2015, 6-8pm
Overlook Gallery at SECCA
Make a thing. Touch a sculpture. Rely on the tactile senses.
Join artist Martha Whittington and workers from Industries for the Blind, a Winston-Salem-based organization that is one of SECCA’s partners. Together, the artist and workers will use objects they have made as a way to talk about making. We will use our senses of touch and hearing to think about the value of our work and our hands.