A Landscape of Geometry – Epsilon Group I by Jack Whitten

Jack Whitten - Epsilon Group I, 1976
Jack Whitten – Epsilon Group I, 1976

There are blurry lines unraveling from an enigmatic vision. The piece of Jack Whitten calls for a great understanding of his practice or a delusional mind as nothing in this piece seems explicable and translatable. Nonfigurative and non abstract. Or is it the other way around?

The canvas is set of perfectly aligned traces and lines leaving the left side of the canvas to migrate generously to the right. We suspiciously observe an ideal, a fantasy scenario made of geometry. Two parallels lines create a repetitive pattern which leaves the left bottom angle of the square and evaporates upwards towards the right side. This is an articulate landscape, a schematized vision of something extremely detailed that alas we will never be able to visualize.

Seven dashes hold the attention at the center of the piece. They are unevenly aligned. But despite the chaotic character of this central element, we are drawn into it. Then our vision widens to hit the white edges of a circle. When everything else started to feel comfortable within a crazy space made of a mathematical language materialized by formulas of dashes, lines and spaces, we are faced with an outsider. The circle exists yet it has nothing to do with the rest. All of sudden, we are scared. Why? Because we are leaving our cotton world made of violence and struggle to be transported into a peaceful, voluptuous shape.

NO! Why is it here? The circle?

Because without it we are not aware of our inner demons and we cannot surface back to reality and accept that we need to calm down, curl up, lay down and change our definition of self-love. It doesn’t have to be that harsh. It doesn’t have to be like that.

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