Art Today’s chosen winner for our ‘Work of the Week’ award this week is contemporary, hyperrealistic, acrylic painter, Abi Whitlock for her dynamic piece entitled ‘From the Depths III’ (left)…
Abi Whitlock currently works and resides in Devon, England. She is not a formally-trained artist – she actually comes from a culinary background (Food Science, University of Leeds). Using the basic technical skills learned during GCSE Art, she built her style in adulthood during a period of ill health when she had plenty of time on her hands. Initially, she didn’t take to acrylics, but has since perfected the medium, and it is now her tool of choice.
Her first sale went to America and from then on Abi sold work internationally via her online website. Winning the CASS Young Artist Award (2016) brought her to the attention of Lawrence Alkin Gallery, London, and she has spent the last year preparing works for her solo exhibition there, entitled ‘Breathe’ (showing this Summer until 27th July).
Focussing on the human form, Abi’s Water Series explores the interplay between body and water, cause and effect. Capturing the minutest of light detail and dynamism means that her hyperrealistic pieces showcase (wo)man at play with nature. Rather than producing basic portraiture, Abi takes this symbiotic relationship one step further by highlighting refraction, displacement, pattern and distortion to give an escapist and relaxing effect.
Of her style, she states:-
‘Water and its interplay with light generate unusual, distorted and complex patterns, altering the perception of everyday images.’.
2018 – Shortlisted for Artists and Illustrators ‘Artist of the Year’ Award.
2016 – CASS Young Artist award at the National Open Art Competition.
2016 – Creative Award for ‘With the Current’, chosen by Lawrence Alkin Gallery.
‘From the Depths III’:-
Art Today were particularly impressed with the distortion of the human form featured in this piece. Within the Water Series, this particular figure’s pose is one of the more difficult to capture. The rippling effect on the water’s surface is depicted incredibly well, meaning the viewer gets a real sense of the woman rising from the depths of the pool. The expertly-chosen palette gives rise to a stark difference between the figure and the water, meaning that the movement and dynamism within the piece can be understood instantly, whilst capturing the whole story, past-present-future, of the body rising from the depths and then breaking the surface of the water. The combination of the successful storytelling and 3-D hyperrealism gives rise to figure seemingly rising out of the surface of the painting towards the viewer. Both a serene and engaging experience within the same moment.
Abi’s Water Series can be viewed online on her website (abiwhitlock.co.uk). She is also currently exhibiting her solo show – entitled Breathe – at Lawrence Alkin Gallery, London.
Previous prestigious exhibitions have included:-
2018 – Artists & Illustrators’ Artist of the Year, Mall Galleries, London.
2017 – Group Exhibition, Kennaway House, Sidmouth; ‘Underneath’ & ‘Summer Mix’, Lawrence Alkin Gallery, Soho.
2016 – National Open Art Competition, Mercers Hall, London; NOA Prizewinner’s Exhibition, Pallant House, Chichester.
2015 – ‘A Slice of Pink Cake’, The Pie Factory, Margate.
(See our article for further details of Abi’s Breathe exhibition currently on show at Lawrence Alkin Gallery, London, here: https://wp.me/p7HPAV-Ke).
[Credits: Feature image – ‘From the Depths III’ by Abi Whitlock (www.abiwhitlock.co.uk); lawrencealkingallery.com]