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Brief Bio:

Ralph Whiteaker has lived and worked in Albuquerque, New Mexico since 1984. Prior to coming to Albuquerque, Ralph lived in both Santa Fe and Las Vegas, New Mexico for many years. Since the Impressionists, and more importantly Paul Cézanne, were a major influence on early work, this environment afforded the perfect opportunity to paint and study following their examples. In doing so a great deal was learned about the nature and quality of color, how it is perceived and what it’s meaning is to people. This was important and ultimately led to the current work with color-field and abstraction. The human figure, in symbolic perspective, is also a subject of significant interest and energy. Here symbolic simply means what is our perception of others, and our relationship to and significance of the “ordinary” events which surround us. Are there lessons to be learned about ourselves by transforming these views through an unusual use of color, or design, and changing the focus from the person to the spirit underneath? Ralph’s primary media is oil on linen canvas, and occasional pencil. Color, and the subtleties and meaning of color, is an essential component in his work. A typical painting is large (64” x 50”) and painted on a specially prepared black-primed canvas.

Selected History:

• Albuquerque ArtsCrawl "First Fridays" open galleries/studios, 2005
• Opens new studio, 2004
• 11th Annual Fine Arts Juried Show, Old San Ysidro Chruch, Corrales, NM, 1999
• “Art Reach ’95,” National Congress of Art and Design, Salt Lake City, 1995
• “Body & Spirit,” Solo show new paintings, Fisher Gallery, Albuquerque, 1994
• “Eight by Eight,” Collaborative show, 8th Street Gallery, Albuquerque, 1993
• “Red,” Invitational Show, Island Gallery, Albuquerque, 1993
• Solo exhibit, Island Gallery, Albuquerque, 1992-93
• Solo show, oils and watercolors, Center Stage Arts Exhibit, Las Vegas, 1979
• North-Central New Mexico Photography Show (first place), Santa Fe, 1979
• “Artists of New Mexico,” Governor’s Gallery, Capitol Building, Santa Fe, 1979
• Juried Watercolor Show, New Mexico Art League, Albuquerque, 1978
• Las Vegas Fine Arts Gallery, Las Vegas, 1976-80
• Paintings held in various private collection nationally
• Post-graduate work in Fine Arts, University of New Mexico, 1991-1993
• BA, pre-professional in Fine Arts, 1973, New Mexico Highlands University

Artist Statement:

Over the years my work has grown from a long series of landscapes and similar subjects through figurative work and has currently matured into a more abstract style, relying heavily on color to speak to the viewer. Over time I became aware that my focus was on larger areas of color and their importance to and effect on the viewer. Abstract, however, isn’t how I think of this current work. At its core are the lessons learned about painting and about what the viewer senses at a spiritual level. Broad areas of the landscape scene gradually translated into a "conversation” with the colors and what those colors evoked. Art has the power to pull out from each of us the intuitive knowledge and spiritual wisdom we all possess. This “speaking to the spiritual” is what my art is attempting to achieve. It draws people beyond the physical perceptions of the world and provides the opportunity to strengthen these other senses—intuition, harmony, wisdom, creativity, understanding and the ultimate connections that exist in all life. Because spiritual issues cannot be easily studied in the laboratory they are too often ignored, or even denied. Society tries to function as if spiritual issues were irrelevant. It is my hope that by providing work reflecting such visions viewers
will take something of the spiritual away with them after viewing my paintings.

Some people have asked why my paintings are always vertical rather than horizontal as is so common here in the Southwest where we see broad horizons all around. It is my sense that vertical is the “direction” of the spirit and reflective of those qualities. My paintings are a reminder to look up.

Contact:

505.228.6408
rjw919@gmail.com