Margaret Withers is a Brooklyn based artist working in gouache, ink, watercolor, vinyl, paper and sound. Her work explores the physics of paint, the feeling of time and neo-American fables and isolation and melancholy in regards to our homes and modes of telecommunication. Originally from Texas, Withers has exhibited her work throughout the country and extensively in New York City, Massachusetts and Texas, and internationally in Brussels, China, Vienna and Russia. Her artwork is included in multiple private collections and has won numerous awards including a 2013 resident fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center and the Millay Colony for the Arts, and a 2013 Hatchfund Project Grant.
I believe that art making is a primary language that we are born with and is the means by which we communicate our creative impulses. My paintings strive to speak this language to those who are still fluent and to those who might have lost some of the words but still recognize the pitch and flow. My vocabulary originates from personal images that are based on my memories, culture, and experiences and they intrinsically justify their own existence, however, they are not bound by the privacy of my experience, and as a language the symbols I use are fluid and personal to each viewer. I fight daily against the stagnation of ideas and emotions and I continually strive to grow and expand my practice to be fresh and authentic by utilizing my intuition. I believe that intuition is the height of logic because it forces me to work outside of how I might naturally conceive a given painting based on my beliefs and current mood. As such, my conscience painting process is not impacted by how I frame my daily experience and this allows me to freely explore my creative impulses.
Current Series - International Systems of Unit (SI)
Since 2010 I've concurrently worked on a series of paintings that explore the concepts of home and communication. I have chosen to group this series along the same naming convention of the seven standards in the International Systems of Unit or SI.
The first group, which I’ve been working on the longest, is directed toward the SI unit of electric current::ampere and contain painted houses that tilt, sway or huddle together as if fearful of existing in an unstable environment, telephone that lines that drop off, and an unidentifiable god figure that watches over this environment that seems to border on chaos and kinetic cosmic anxiety.
The second group is mass::kilogram.This group is similar to current::ampere but contain transparent houses that seem to have lost their substance and privacy.
The third group is length::metre and are similar to a google earth view of this ‘landscape’.
The latest group that I’ve started work on is time::second, these oil paintings utilize muted colors to form an hypnotic landscape where time is meant to feel like pressure - a foreboding finality where the god-figure is absent and the houses tilt into or push away from an opening abyss.