Selected works by Whitney Bedford

Whitney Bedford
In Deep

2005

Ink and oil on panel

Each panel 122 x 183 cm

Two steam ships sail in apparently opposite directions. Having passed each other, they remain coupled by a strange, luminous swell – a huge wave, a patch of fog, or a spillage perhaps. The horizon effectively eliminated, sky and ocean merge to draw the viewer into their depth. Whitney Bedford’s seascapes, not unlike those of other artists working today such as Cy Twombly and Tacita Dean, return to and reinterpret J.M.W. Turner’s nineteenth-century legacy of the sublime.

Whitney Bedford
Hit

2005

ink and oil on panel dyptich

86 x 122 cm
A tall ship is in distress on a heaving sea, listing dangerously and losing its cargo overboard. The rigging, a fragile, ink-drawn tangle of ropes, is collapsing under the might of waves of incandescent oil paint that pummel its glowing hull from all sides. "Sometimes," the artist has stated, "it is the paint itself that sinks the images." The shipwreck as a motif appears recurrently in Whitney Bedford’s work as a metaphor for a more contemporary squall - the turbulent political and social situation in which we live today.
Whitney Bedford
Two Blue

2005

ink and oil on panel

122 x 183 cm
Two ships fill the picture field, their masts all but obscured by streaks of oil. One sits calmly on the water’s surface as the other, trailing a fog of dark paint, lurches high above it as if in the act of sinking. It is not clear if these are two different ships, one perhaps ramming the other in an act of hostility, or in fact the same single ship portrayed in successive positions as it slips beneath the waves. Whitney Bedford paints such scenes from her own imagined memories of situations, places and events.
Whitney Bedford
Untitled (Carioca)

2005

ink and oil on panel

71.1 x 94 cm
A large sailing ship is ablaze in sight of land. From a wild, apocalyptic sky, burning cinders fall like the residue of spent fireworks, scattering in the water. The palette is one of desperation, emergency, of struggle between the cool blue waves that consume the ship from beneath, and the flaming oranges that lick its sails above. Another, more strategic battle, meanwhile, is being played out in the same composition; the fight between pictorial representation and abstraction that dominates Whitney Bedford’s work.
Whitney Bedford
Untitled (Daylighting)

2005

ink and oil on panel

152.4 x 213.4 cm
Beneath an acrid, chemical yellow sky, a huge surge of cobalt seawater smashes one ship into another. Friend or foe? Marine battle or tragic accident? It is impossible to tell. Working within the historical framework of an classic academic convention, the marine landscape, Bedford uses fierce, disorderly colours and a highly expressive painterly technique to capsize tradition and create hybrid images of great power and emotion.
Whitney Bedford
Untitled (Encontros e Despendidas)

2005

ink and oil on panel

122 x 183 cm
The ghostly apparitions of two tall vessels, pass, quite literally, like ships in the night. A burning streak of orange paint along the water line of one is the only sign of life. Atop a calm, black sea their masts and rigging appear skeletal against a streaky night sky as the boats seem almost to pass through one another. The title of a well-known bossanova folk song, Encontros e Despendidas (’meetings and goodbyes’) provides an appropriately romantic subtitle for this otherworldly composition.

Other Resources

artfacts.net
Additional Information on Whitney Bedford

the-artists.org
Modern and contemporary artists and art; Whitney Bedford

damelioterras.com
Whitney Bedford- Press
Yves Brochard. “Mixed Paint: A Survey of Contemporary Painters,” Flash Art. Nov-Dec 2004, p. 89.
Whitney Bedford's paintings are a surprising cocktail of sea battles and boardings, portraits of seadogs and (…) backgrounds where wood panels are made extremely smooth by multiplying the coats of paint. It makes them seem dematerialized, as if sprayed in quick successive layers. Some of the scenes seem to have been painted by a gliding hand in a caressing stroke, leaving just a faint felt-tip pen trace. The more descriptive action scenes are violently inscribed onto a panel by brush or felt-tip strokes forming a brush-like figure: the painting's nucleus.

cherrydelosreyes.com
Leah Ollman "The Raw Power of Full Color," Los Angeles Times
Destructive force is palpable in Whitney Bedford's paintings at cherrydelosreyes, but there's something perversely glorious about that power when allied to color and paint. It can be unleashed, and nothing's at stake but a moment's confidence in the everyday veneer of order.

mocoloco.com
"Lightning"
Whitney Bedford is an American painter drawn to the high seas of shipwrecks and pirates. She sees her subjects as depictions of passion and despair and bases her paintings on old academic pictures of naval battles while capsizing a more conventional perspective.

paris-art.com
Whitney Bedford par GĂ©rard Selbach
Si pirates, corsaires et autres flibustiers ont moins fait partie de l’imaginaire collectif américain qu’en France ou en Grande-Bretagne, ils auront, en tout cas, marqué l’imagination de Whitney Bedford.