David Kim Whittaker presents his first solo exhibit in the Principality.
Since its inception in 1994, Opera Gallery has strived to offer museums, foundations and private international art collectors unique access to a diversity of Modern and Contemporary artists through an exciting program of curated exhibitions.
One such exhibition is the first solo show by acclaimed British artist David Kim Whittaker currently at Opera Gallery Monaco. “Pearls to the Peachy Fire” showcases 28 large, medium and small-scale oil and acrylic and mixed media works by the artist, all created specially for this show.
The title “Pearls to the Peachy Fire” came to the Cornwall-born artist in his sleep. The words followed a dream in which he received a vision of the houses of parliament burning; days later Whittaker recalls the crushing images of Notre Dame ablaze. “Each of our lives is a pearl,” Whittaker says.
Half of “Pearls to the Peachy Fire” at Opera Gallery Monaco is representative of Whittaker at his most universal as he approaches challenging subjects far and wide, ranging from the fallout from his home country’s split by the Brexit pantomime to civil unrest on the streets of Paris, and from violent far right oppression in Brazil to the continued plight of those displaced in war torn Syria. Yet set within the maelstrom that ensues and engulfs, the cameo is set as a romantic portal which offers hope and a sense of human potential beyond the temporary suffering, for these are paintings about our capacity to triumph over adversity.
The 55-year-old’s works reflect his kaleidoscopic mind as the he attempts to make sense of a kaleidoscopic world, and our kaleidoscopic existence within it.
Opera Gallery Monaco shines the spotlight on Whittaker’s approach, which could be seen as a poetic form of psychological collage where the world and our collective experience is torn apart and reassembled.
Published within the exhibition catalogue are some of Whittaker’s writings, a private process that has become increasingly important for the artist to express the world around and within. One particular piece is a love letter, written not to another, but to his oil paint, expressing the artist’s everlasting love for giving him his voice.
The exhibition also exposes Whittaker at his most personal. “The Waiting Man” is a series of small works that appear as a male phantom patiently awaiting a transition of some sort, like a lion awaits its prey.
Three monumental canvases share an overarching title of “The Privy” resembling figures in a partly romanticized yet simultaneously grubby bathroom setting. The subtitles, “To Look in the Mirror,” “Souls for Gods and Surgeons,” and “The Weeping Nude,” make undoubted reference to the artist’s personal journey with gender identity. “Manola Performs Tonight (A Life Time of Not Really Knowing Until the End)” completes the artist’s vision of self. A complex work where the repeating cameo fi rst depicts the Industrial Revolution which precedes apocalyptic deforestation as apes battle machines in the centre panel and culminates in the last panel with visions of the burning tower of Notre Dame as hundreds of years of civilization are quickly turned to dust. Within the centre of each panel, Manola, a burlesque vampire vision appears.
Yes, this is David Kim Whittaker. There is not one conclusion to be drawn from all this, after all, we live in a world where anything goes … until it is gone.
CELEBRATING ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY The Opera Gallery Group has established its name with 14 galleries worldwide from New York to London, and from Dubai to Seoul. Through a diverse program of curated exhibitions and high profi le art fairs, Opera Gallery has provided museums, foundations and private inter- national art collectors unique access to modern and contemporary artists.
David Kim Whittaker’s exhibitions have been held internationally, notably including a solo event at Fondazione Mudima in Milan in 2017 curated by Joseph Clarke. His works are in numerous museum collections, art foundations and international private collections. Whittaker was
further acknowledged in 2011 as the recipient of the Towry Award (First Prize) at the National Open Art Competition in the U.K.
A printed catalogue will be available at Opera Gallery Monaco (1 avenue Henri Dunant), open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.