Whipple’s ‘Anima Mundi’ exhibit opens in the Teaching Gallery

Julio Rodriguez

PHOTO BY Grace Sgambettera | The Hudsonian Student newspaper

“Anima Mundi” opened to the campus community last Thursday evening for students to get an inside look at New York artist Emerald Rose Whipple’s profound and symbolic exhibition.

“Largely self-taught, with initial teaching from her parents, Whipple is best known for her paintings of alternately pensive and frolicking young adults that document the transition from the innocence of childhood to the self-knowledge of adulthood,” said Tara Fracalossi, professor and Teaching Gallery director.

Fracalossi continued, “The exhibition in the Teaching Gallery surveys four years of work during which the artist casts her subjects as allegories of themes from “Eden,” “Genesis” and Plato’s “Theto.” Connecting these series is the idea of “Anima Mundi,” latin for world soul.”

The belief in the intrinsic connection between all living entities unites imagery, photography and painting throughout the exhibition. The idea defines a connection between the worlds of nature and constructed humanity, Fracalossi said.

Whipple’s inspiration for her own artwork was drawn from personal experiences that culminated to become the exhibition on display today.

“I am best known for my oil-on-canvas paintings of wayward youth and lush landscapes,” Whipple said. “This exhibition is a retrospective of my works going back to 2012. Much of my paintings are idealized scenes from personal experiences which document a coming-of-age narrative.”

The “Frequency” series is considered Whipple’s earliest work. The series is latent in creative expression which experimented with texture, color and transparency. Whipple’s series applied chromotherapy processes, in which she explored the theory of color as a vibration of light.

An early exhibition of Whipple’s, titled “Eden,” was inspired by desert moss formations from the Ohi California desert and later paired with figurative works to bring the collection together. The exhibition was shown by Galerie Jan Dhase in Belgium. This was Whipple’s first solo international exhibition.

“Eden” is comprised of two stylistic representations: portrait paintings of candid youth and still life paintings of desert moss formations. This exhibition symbolizes the unity of life as a philosophical relationship between nature and humanity.

In 2014, Whipple traveled Hawaii for the first time in a decade to visit her mother prior to her passing away. Whipple visited beaches and sites she had become familiar with as a child in her formative youth.

Whipple’s experience handling grief and death led her to encounter philosophical texts which she says inspired a lot of the work she produced after her late mother’s death.

Through “Genesis,” Whipple wanted to focus on the light and energy within us. She wanted to capture moments that felt golden, timeless and immersive.

Whipple said the “Genesis” paintings epitomize New York’s downtown scene and convey the social anthropology of young people. According to Whipple, the paintings are playful and invite the viewer to engage.

The body of work is an exploration of creation and mortality. Whipple wanted to document the time humans have on the planet. The subjects of youth are captured in light as an allegory of transcendence. The scenes represent freedom and fun.

Whipple took photos from her travels which had a significant impact on her artistic and intellectual development to inspire her work, “FIDO.”

“The work is a representation of life, the descent into the afterlife and reincarnation. The juxtaposition of the human form and nature landscape act as a bridge between the material realm and divinity,” Whipple said.

She continued, “With an awareness of mortality, the work encourages the viewer to cherish the gift of life.”

Through years of work and reflective painting, Whipple’s work has reached a level of symbolic and deeply profound interaction.

“Though not obvious at first, my paintings are also an investigation of how the presence of consciousness, perception and the soul influence the way we live our lives,” she said.

The “Anima Mundi” exhibition is on display in the Teaching Gallery until March 3.

PHOTO BY Grace Sgambettera | The Hudsonian Student newspaper

PHOTO BY Grace Sgambettera | The Hudsonian Student newspaper

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