The subjects of Whittle’s paintings often take the form of ruins and re-evaluate how these operate in contemporary settings. They explore romantic motifs whilst depicting modern structures with fading sherbet colours and acidic electric lights. Through an enquiry in to picturesque themes the paintings push to the edges of these romantic reflections in order to understand their undercurrent in contemporary landscape painting.
Fairground equipment, tents and other temporary structures are often employed as devices to represent make-shift ruins and themes of fragility, vulnerability and impermanence. Canvas sits in water; ropes are pegged in to fluid land. They are constructed scenes which seem to hold different moments of time concurrently- canvas rots and weeds scramble over surfaces, but some lights remain on or have just been lit. They are spaces where furtive and obscured events have taken place but clues to this are few or misleading. And whilst they have a feeling of oppressive stillness the motile elements such as mud or water seem to be slowly moving the scenes towards a foreboding conclusion.
Joanna Whittle studied at Central Saint Martins and Royal College of Art. She has had solo exhibitions at Agnews and the Museum of London, whilst taking part in numerous group shows including Bethlehem Boys Club at Sidney+Matilda (Sheffield, 2019), ‘Confluence’ at the Herrick Gallery London and Bloc Projects (2018), John Moores Painting Prize Exhibition (2018), and ‘The Immaculate Dream’ at Collyer Bristow Gallery (2019). In 2019 she curated landscape exhibition, ‘Flat+Earth’, at Sidney+Matilda Gallery and was joint winner of the Harley Gallery Open Prize (2019). She was also winner of the Contemporary British painting Prize 2019. During 2020 she worked on an Arts Council funded project ‘Between Islands’ working with the Portland Collection and the Welbeck Estate, culminating in a solo exhibition at the Harley Gallery, Welbeck.