Whitney Bedford

Region: Pacific Coast

I make paintings that explore portraiture and landscapes as votives, consecrated objects that reflect on the past while seeking to invoke new emotive potentials. Votives are made not only to protect, but also as an expression of thanks to overcome a calamity. Often my work is imbued with a self-reflexive quality that aims to protect or embolden the subject, the viewer, and the artist alike.

My paintings negotiate the territory between portrait and landscape—a realm where forces of nature collide with the personal and the political. I often use iconic portraits of historical figures, shipwrecks, utopian images of Arcadian landscapes, and photos of Mars and fireworks as a visual lexicon within which I negotiate the burden of history [on painting] within the exigencies of contemporary life. I then use the materiality of my medium to mark, manipulate, and consume the image—exalting the depiction with the aim of locating new emotional potential in the reworked imagery.