Hathaway is proud to present Abstract Tendencies, an exhibition of contemporary abstract painting, featuring work by Whitney Wood Bailey, Khalilah Birdsong, Carol John, and Fran O’Neill. Abstract Tendencies will open concurrently with Southernoids II: Symposium, a solo exhibition by installation and sculpture artist, Charity Harris.
Carol John is a painter and designer living and working in Athens, Georgia. She received a BFA at the School of Visual Arts, in New York. Her work is in the collection of the High Museum of Art, in Atlanta. She has exhibited in Atlanta, and New York. John’s wildly colorful and almost hypnotically involving paintings draw on many influences but are, in the end, utterly their own. Carol John is the consummate studio artist, rigorous in her practice and time, she produces a plethora of images and works of all scale. Her studio walls are consumed by wall to wall flower bursts, quote bubbles, geometric patterns and the brilliant color palette that Ms. John is known for.
My love of color, language and pop graphics are expressed in my work. I like to build up layers on the canvas, sometimes over the course of many years. I work with a vocabulary of graphic emblems that includes ropes, dots, stripes, houses, combs,cigarettes, ice cream cones and eyeballs. Bold colors and the repetition of these simple objects define the language of this body of work.
Whitney Wood Bailey is a Georgia native who currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA degree in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta and her BFA in painting from Auburn University. Whitney also studied with UGA’s Lamar Dodd School of Art in Cortona, Italy as well as postgraduate study with Rhode Island School of Design in France. She was awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Hambidge Center and was a featured artist in New American Paintings. Whitney has exhibited nationally and internationally including Paris, Shanghai and Hong Kong as well as New York and around the U.S.
Whitney’s practice is driven by questions of a metaphysical nature such as how design and orchestration within nature affects our consciousness, and how the extraordinary geometries within nature’s design demand the consideration of intelligent design as well as our notions of spirituality. She combines forms that are organic in creation with carefully placed and predetermined mark making. The linear hatch marks (“ticking”) in the work, inspired by visits to the ancient art caves of France, represent a form of structure, applied to the naturally occurring elements within this painting process. The combination of the two suggests the idea of an intersection of faith, reason, instinct and intellect.
Fran O’Neill, born in Wangaratta, Australia, O'Neill attended Monash University, earning a BFA. Her post-graduate work was at the New York Studio School's Certificate Program, and her MFA was completed at Brooklyn College in 2012. In 2007 she received a Joan Mitchell Foundation award. O’Neill’s solo exhibitions include TW Fine Art, Brisbane, Australia; BMG Art Adelaide, Australia; Hathaway Contemporary, Atlanta, GA; Life on Mars Gallery; Brooklyn, NY, John Davis Gallery, NY; New York Studio School, NY; and Sussex College, Hastings, UK. Her work has been included in various group shows throughout the United States and in Australia, most recently at MOCA in Jacksonville, FL in the exhibition entitled Confronting the Canvas: Women of Abstraction. She has taught at the New York Studio School, Arts Students League and Pratt Institute. Her work resides in private collections in the USA, Australia and UK, and is in the collection of MOCA Jacksonville, FL.
Brooklyn-based artist Fran O’Neill creates vibrant, swirling paintings in myriad, intensely hued colors. While O’Neill pays homage to the great abstract painters of the 20th century, her aesthetic is also based on personal experience. She utilizes unexpected moments from her past as the jumping off point for artistic explorations that look to recreate her perceptions rather than actual events. Movement—of the hand, brush, and paint—is integral to O’Neill’s work, as evidenced by her gestural style and the kinetic energy she captures on the canvas.
Khalilah Birdsong is a painter with a studio practice based on Maui, Hawaii and in Atlanta, Georgia. She has had solo exhibitions in Cincinnati, Ohio and Atlanta, Georgia. Her 2016 solo exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Underground was reviewed in Cincinnati CityBeat. Birdsong has paintings in private and corporate collections, including commissioned works. Two of her paintings were recently acquired by the City of Atlanta for the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Natatorium Center. Khalilah’s work can be found in President Barack Obama’s private collection, which is being considered for his Presidential Library. A fifteen-year veteran of the Film and Television industry, Khalilah is the Senior Director of Communications & Engagement at Tyler Perry Studios, where she has worked in various aspects of the organization for a decade.
I am interested in survival and resurgence. Distress, weathering is palpable on the canvas, but so is reawakening. I build layers up and then take them away to create a painting that is, ultimately, whole. The process of layering and stripping builds contusions, bumps and raw ridges, but also reveals patches of older, more forgotten colors. Every painting is an experience through process, which translates to the canvas to create a story that can only be experienced visually. I work in a variety of media and scales, and experiment with a range of processes. My paintings explore the dynamic interplay of color, depth and line. The symbols, both created and referential, point to an ethereal realm from which they were created, and later realized through a digital process. The installation of pu’olo represents a channeling of Hawaiian tradition, created with an interior of recycled paper molded with plaster wrap and enclosed by hand-dyed fabrics.