The exhibition, curated by Pamela Edmonds, features a selection of Whiten’s three-dimensional works from the late 1970s onward reflecting Whiten’s broad-ranging metaphysical interests.
Born in Inkster, Michigan in 1941, Tim Whiten completed his M.F.A at the University of Oregon, School of Architecture and Allied Arts. After immigrating to Canada in 1968, he taught in the Department of Visual Arts at York University for 39 years. An award-winning educator, he is currently Professor Emeritus in their Department of Visual Arts and is based in Toronto. Since 1962, he has had work presented in exhibitions throughout North America and internationally. His work can be found in numerous private, public and corporate collections, including the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Tim Whiten’s prolific career and extensive creative practice is concerned with humanity’s place in the scheme of life as well as the nature of consciousness. His expansive visual vocabulary has been described as being formulated outside of conventional art historical discourse and Western notions of linear thought. Whiten frequently works with glass, a precarious medium he has used skillfully since the 1980s, highlighting its luminosity and transparency as a key to infinity and divine knowledge. His use of viscerally-charged organic materials (including wood, bone, hair and leather) unites the everyday with the esoteric.
Spanning across the Levy and Tomlinson galleries on the fourth floor of the museum, Elemental: Ethereal touches on aspects of the air element with its associations to the celestial, ephemeral and intangible through works that mediate transcendence and transformative states of being.
Considering the exhibition, Pamela Edmonds, Senior Curator at McMaster Museum of Art says, “As we live through the challenges of this global pandemic, the art world is seeing a renewed interest in spirituality as more artists turn to theological iconography and mysticism in a quest for meaning. For more than five decades, Tim Whiten has continued to make profound works exploring sacred and ancestral knowledge. This exhibition offers a space for reflection through Whiten’s deep understanding of the connections between material transformation and the human condition.”
Elemental is part of an expanded, multi-venue retrospective of Tim Whiten’s career developed between the Art Gallery of Peterborough, Art Gallery of York University, Robert McLaughlin Gallery, and McMaster Museum of Art from 2022 to 2023. This series of curated exhibitions are thematically united by the classical elements of air, water, earth, and fire – a reference to Whiten’s interest in alchemical processes.
To visit the exhibition, please schedule an appointment via the museum’s bookings page.