Linda Whitney, Jingle Sisters Dancing for the Lost Children, 2021, Mezzotint with hand applied earth pigments, 30″ x 22″

Guest blog post by Paloma Mayorga

Movement, contemplation, and tradition are what fuel Linda Whitney’s latest prints featured in PrintAustin’s 5×5 exhibition. Detailed renditions of Native American regalia suspended mid-dance fill the copper plate and allow the artist to connect to her ancestry.

“As a baby, my grandmother was separated from her heritage and raised by a white family. From this awareness, I learned that the celebration of the powwow is a declaration of the strength and tenacity of the Indigenous cultures of this continent,” she writes. 

Linda Whitney, Blue Moon Butterfly Dancer, 2020, Mezzotint, 30″ x 22″

To create her compositions, Whitneys references photographs sent to her by her powwow dancer friends to capture the essence of dance moves that tell specific stories. She draws unique regalia based on her knowledge and experience assisting her husband in preparing his own regalia for powwows as well. Her choice of colors—black, white, red, and yellow—honor the area where she resides in North Dakota; the red and yellow pigments she uses even derive directly from the earth.

Often dedicating each print hundreds of hours, Whitney embraces the meticulous process of creating a large scale mezzotint, which the artist explains in detail in this video as well as in her recent conversation with Jamaal Barber of Studio Noize Podcast, to reflect upon trauma, violence, and resiliency of Indigenous people.

Her print Butterfly Sister Dancing for the Little Ones, Whitney recalls, was created in response to the news articles written in 2021 pertaining to the unmarked gravesites of North American Indigenous children that were found at residential schools across Canada and the US. The print depicts the fancy shawl dance, in which the dancer and the regalia she wears tell a story of rebirth, and the joy and freedom of becoming a butterfly. “I wanted that particular image to honor all of those children that are gone,” Whitney explains.

Linda Whitney, Butterfly Sister Dancing for the Little Ones, 2021, Mezzotint with hand applied earth pigments, 30″ x 22″

To dive deeper into the rich storytelling and velvety mezzotints of Linda Whitney, visit lwhitneystudio.com.

View Linda Whitney’s work at Ivester Contemporary

Part of our 5×5 online exhibition this year included an in-person element at Ivester Contemporary. After our juror, Caitlin Clay, Curator of Exhibitions at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas (AMSET), chose the five exhibiting artists based on their five submitted works, Ivester Contemporary chose two works per artist to hang in their auxiliary gallery. The show is up until January 22, 2022 with an opening on January 21. 

The 5X5

In partnership with Ivester Contemporary, PrintAustin’s 2nd annual online juried exhibition, The 5×5, is juried by Caitlin Clay, Curator of Exhibitions at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas. This virtual exhibition–with an in-person element at Ivester–showcases five works by five contemporary artists from the United States, Mexico, and Poland, giving us a broad survey of printmaking happening across the globe. 

Ivester Contemporary

Ivester Contemporary is an Austin-based contemporary fine art gallery committed to connecting people with leading local and regional artists and ideas. Rotating exhibitions are focused on creating a context for contemplation, deepening appreciation for the visual arts, and facilitating a dialog between the artist and their viewers. Ivester Contemporary is located within the Canopy Creative Complex in East Austin, a central hub for artists, gallerists, and other creative types.

Studio Noize Podcast

Studio Noize is a weekly art podcast highlighting artists and creators of the diaspora. Artist and printmakers Jamaal Barber and Jasmine Williams talk with other black artists about their art processes and their lives. They engage with painters, curators, singers, dancers, art directors, collectors, and guests of all disciplines. Studio Noize’s creative conversations motivate and inspire while archiving the voices of contemporary black artists. Listen to new episodes every Tuesday on studionoizepodcast.com.