Whitney McVeigh's work focuses on the psychological and physical aspects that underlie and define us as humans. Concerned with reinvention, she uses found objects, including books and old ledgers and creates large paintings embodying a sense of time and human imprint. Her work explores both personal history and collective memory and alludes to the layering of time.
Over a twenty-year period McVeigh has amassed a collection of found objects weighted by their unique patternations; tracing former lives and the once tangible relationship an individual may have had with the object. The artist acts as custodian of these ‘markers’. She isolates yet elevates the materials, entrusting them to reflect and spur philosophical understandings of history, time and memory. McVeigh's paintings are precoccupied with the complexity and dual layers of the body and form languages with origins in Eastern and Western philosophy.
McVeigh has travelled extensively to carry out her practice and has held residencies in Mexico, India, China and more recently in South Africa. She is a Fellow in Creative Practice at University of the Arts, London and has exhibited and lectured internationally including solo exhibitons at Eykyn Maclean Gallery, New York (2018), Kettle's Yard, Cambridge (2015), Summerhall Arts, Edinburgh (2016) and David Kruth Projects, NY (2011). Her participations to group exhibitions include Plato in L.A.: Contemporary Artists' Visions, Getty Villa, Los Angeles (2018),The New Book of Knowledge, Metamatic-Taf, Athens (2016) moving image Light Switch for Extinction Marathon at the Serpentine Gallery (2014) and Glass Stress, White Light/White Heat at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013). In 2009 she worked in film on a trip to Syria where she recorded Sight of Memory, exhibited Icastica Biennale, Arezzo (2013) and in 2012 travelled to Kyrgyzstan with the BBC to research and direct two short films about artists for televsion. McVeigh attended Louise Bourgeois' salon in New York (2007) where she gave a short presentation of her work.
The art critic and historian Simon Schama wrote about McVeigh's film 'Birth': Origins at the end of life "Whitney McVeigh had the lovely idea of asking women in hospice care to reflect on the elemental experience of giving birth, thus tying together the two ends of the cord of life. This they do without sentimentality but with a poignant access to memory's truths which perhaps only a sense of imininent end can bring. The result is an extraordinary poignant, and profound exercise in exposing a piece of the human condition that can escape us, imprisoned as we are in the trivial imperatives of daily life.The voices are each distinctive but all have a kind of poetic power to their utterances. The film is at once simple and complex, delicate and rugged; quick and steady; a finely concentrated little work of real art."
McVeigh's research at University of the Arts, London (LCF) Human Fabric looks at collective identity through community projects and site specific work.
Selected Solo Exhibitions: Elegy to Nature, Eykyn Maclean Gallery, New York (2018), 6671 Days, Nirox Foundation, South Africa (2016); Contours, Hazard Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa (2016); 'Birth': Origins at the end of life, Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts, Japan (2015); Language of Memory, Summerhall, Edinburgh (2015-16); Invisible Companion, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge (2015); Into the Void, House of St Barnabas, London (2013); Hunting Song, Gervasuti Foundation, 55th Venice Biennale (2013); New Ink Paintings, Michael Goedhuis, London (2015); Archaeology of Memory, Nirox Projects, Johannesburg (2011) and SMAC gallery, Cape Town (2011); Dialogue, David Krut Projects, New York (2010/11); New Work, A Foundation, London (2009).
Group Exhibitions include: Plato in LA: Contemporarty Artists' Visions, Getty Villa, Los Angeles (2018); Paradoxal Stranger, MOMO Gallery, South Africa (2016); Culturelines: Sans Frontieres, MetamaticTaf, Athens (2016); Extinction Marathon online, Serpentine Gallery (2014); Unlocking the Diary: The Archiving of Nameless Memories, Folkestone Fringe for Folkestone Triennial (2014); Protanopia Utopia, Honore, Rue Visconti, Paris (2014); Glass Stress, White Light/White Heat, 55th Venice Biennale (2013); Metamorphosis - The Transformation of Being, All Visual Arts, London (2012); 100 Curators, 100 Days - Saatchi Online (2012); Kaliphilia - Vegas Gallery, London (2012); Collection 14 - SMAC Gallery, Cape Town (2011); Fugitive Vision - David Krut, New York (2011); Identity Theft - Mimmo Scognamiglio Artecontemporanea, Milan (2010); Collective Noun – Trolley Gallery, Faggionato Fine Art, London (2010); Collection of Peter Nobel - Museum of Modern Art, Salzburg (2010); Contemporaneo - Monterrey, Mexico (2009); Works on Paper, a Global Perspective - NY Arts Pavilion, Venice Biennale (2009); Concrete and Glass - with Saatchi Online (2008); Two Person Show - NY Arts Beijing Gallery, Beijing, China (2007).
Residencies include Beijing, International Shuixang Society, Wei Ligang, 2017, Nirox Foundation - Cradle of Humankind,South Africa (2010-18); David Krut Projects - Johannesburg, South Africa (2011); All Visual Arts -London (2012); NY Arts, Beijing (2007); CASA, San Augustin, Mexico (2008).