Abstract Landscapes on Display at UA Gallery

  • June 19th, 2015
"Light" by Josh Whidden
“Light” by Josh Whidden

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Abstract landscapes by husband and wife duo Josh and Heather Whidden are on exhibit at The University of Alabama Gallery in the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center in downtown Tuscaloosa.

The exhibit, “always here to your there,” is on display today through July 27.

A reception will be held at the gallery Friday, July 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Both the exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

The Whiddens’ work investigates memory and experience through abstract landscapes. Both explore ways that moments in time can be visually and physically represented, and both are Master of Fine Arts candidates in UA’s department of art and art history.

Artwork will be available for purchase directly through the artists.

Josh Whidden received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of West Florida in 2011. As a Master of Fine Arts candidate at UA, he has assisted painting and printmaking classes as a graduate teaching assistant and has taught drawing.

His paintings explore the idea of memory and experience as a cumulative process. Through the accumulation of paint layers, his work offers a metaphorical representation of the way in which memories constantly build upon one another.

He explores the use of an organic, screen-like grid, which is composed of individually dripped lines of paint that are guided by gravity itself.

“The grid becomes a visual representation of human experience,” he said. “Like the memories and experiences of life, the grid is formed one layer at a time, building up to eventually become a dense and almost impenetrable thing. So many colors, vibrant at times, become muted by the constant accumulation of new lines of experience.

“The final lines that lay on the surface represent the most recent memories and experiences, and a certain kind of digging is required to access distant experiences.”

"Abjection" by Heather Whidden
“Abjection” by Heather Whidden

Heather Whidden received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of West Florida in 2012. She has assisted sculpture and ceramics classes as a graduate teaching assistant and has taught three-dimensional design at UA.

She enjoys pushing traditional boundaries of painting and sculpture. She layers various materials to create topographical surfaced objects. This work explores the relationship between nature and human existence. She is interested in how time is experienced spatially, temporally and physically.

“The materials are selected based on their ability to represent the past, present and the space between these moments,” she said. “Strata are built up like crust, or skin. A stitching or suturing mark alludes to multiple meanings.

“They serve as a recurring memory, a repetitive emotion or to simultaneously hold on to the past and present.”

Originally from Pensacola, Florida, the couple has been married for two and a half years. “Always here to your there” is their second show together, the first being their Master of Arts exhibition last spring.

The University of Alabama Gallery offers a year-round schedule of exhibitions of artistic works, artifacts, textiles and more from permanent collections held by UA, as well as works by faculty, students, and guest artists and designers.

The UA Gallery is located at 620 Greensboro Ave. in downtown Tuscaloosa. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and the first Fridays of the month until 8 p.m. For more information, phone the gallery at 205/345-3038 or phone 205/342-2060.

The gallery is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships and Goldwater Scholarships.


Katie McAllister, gallery manager, College of Arts and Sciences, mcall007@as.ua.edu


Stephanie Kirkland, communications specialist, College of Arts and Sciences, 205/348-8539, stephanie.kirkland@ua.edu

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.