Born in rural Oklahoma, LaDawna Whiteside’s American lineage stretches back to the American Dust Bowl of the 1930s.She is the descendant of a farmer, an orphaned miner’s daughter, a charismatic preacher and a female factory worker. Whiteside sifts through 19th century American social history and uses materials, process and place to form a visual dialogue.
Whiteside earned her BA at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock in 2000 and her MFA at the Art Institute of Boston in 2010. She also attended the School of Visual Arts in New York, where she studied Criticism and Writing in 2011. She has completed residencies around the world, most recently in Israel (2019), Mexico (2018), and India (2018).
In 2017, she won the Contemporaries Award at the 59th Annual Delta Exhibition for ‘Body: Flesh and Bone, graphite on paper’.
For most of her life, Whiteside has lived in Arkansas. She currently lives and works at her studio and farm in Fayetteville. With a watchful eye, she is engaged and aware within the struggle, contemplating how to build cultural bridges through social and landscape integration.
About the Work
My artwork has been shaped by my life in the American South. For me, the pursuit of making art is not about answers, but rather about raising questions. How will the American landscape and its condition be defined over the next century? Responding to memories, I build up expressive layers through drawing and painting in an effort to chronicle change over time.
With meditative and aerial perspectives, I equate my marks to those made by humans on the land. In search for an alternative sublime, I form relationships between line and geometry to demonstrate altered geographical expressions found in forests and farmland familiar to the Southern United States. I create a typology of marks linked to human actions such as excavating, ordering, and planting. As I dig deeper, topographical compositions expose imaginative core sections that are analogous to my inner self. On fertile ground, this abstracted landscape becomes my body and tells a history of life in the American South.
Voted Best Art Gallery 2019 in "Best of Northwest Arkansas”
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