Michael Whittle

‘My voice proclaims
How exquisitely the individual Mind
(And the progressive powers perhaps no less
Of the whole species) to the external World
Is fitted:—and how exquisitely, too,
Theme this but little heard of among Men,
The external World is fitted to the Mind . . .’

William Wordsworth, Prospectus to ‘The Recluse’ 1814

The stylus is one of the simplest and most economical instruments of scientific practice. Apparently unsophisticated though ubiquitous, it plays a constitutive role in the production of knowledge. In the context of scientific research, both drawing and writing concretize cognitive processes and in this way open up an interaction between perception and reflection, between the securing of phenomena and the formation of theses.

Many objects and phenomena become available and comprehensible only through drawn and written records. Moreover, the activity of writing and drawing constitutes one of the most critical steps in scientific research: the step from (potentially) ambiguous data to stable facts.

In a deviation returning some level of uncertainty, my own process of drawing creates alternative systems of reference, networks of carefully selected images forced in to association with one another which become codes imbued with special hieroglyphic aura. My works often make allusions both to the human visual system and also to systems of evolution, a poetics of vision and division.

The Central Nervous System has evolved to decipher and reconstruct the sensory World in which it exists and is very much part of, as Wordsworth proclaims, brain builds World, but equally the World has built the brain.

The highly symbolic imagery also relates to the Hermetic visual languages of European Medieval and Renaissance Emblem Books, alchemy and mysticism.

Michael Maier, an important alchemical illustrator, described his work as a mixture of ‘Aphrodites and Hermes’, as a Hermaphrodite with both a sensual stimulus and intellectual appeal, attempting ‘ to reach the intellect via the senses’.

Michael Whittle, 2007

Born in 1976, Northumberland, UK
Lives / works in Kyoto, Japan

Currently Doctoral candidate at the Kyoto City University of the Arts, Japan
2010 – 2012: Monbukagakusho Research Scholar at Kyoto City University of the Arts, Japan
2005: MA, Sculpture,Royal College of Art, London, UK
2002: BA, Fine Art, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art / Konstfach University, Sweden
1998: BSc, Biomedicine, Bradford University, UK

Solo Exhibitions
2013: ‘Pattern Recognition’, Cohju Contemporary Art, Kyoto, Japan
2011: ‘¡Que Esfuertzo! – How hard they try!’, Gallery MC, Seoul, Korea
2010: ‘The Diamond Anvil’, Daniel Cooney Fine Art, New York, USA
2009: ‘The World of Red Dust’, CIGE International Solo Exhibitions, Beijing, China
2008: ‘Dark Ages’, Man&Eve, London,— ‘Group Exhibition of Gallery Artists’, Man&Eve, London, UK — ‘Suspensions’, Gallery NV, Seoul, Korea — ‘Different Similarities, Similar Differences’, Sferra exhibition, Kyoto, Japan
2007: ‘The louder the Sun Blooms’, Daniel Cooney Fine Art, New York, USA
2006: ‘The Topology of Being’, Daniel Cooney Fine Art, New York, USA
2005: Katsura Gallery, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

Selected Group Exhibitions
2013: ‘Dividing Line – Connecting Line – 分かつ線 – つなぐ線’, Zuiun-an Art Project Space, Kyoto, Japan — ‘New British 2013’, The Lloyds Club, London, UK — ‘1st Annual Collectors’ Contemporary Collaboration, May Dialogues’, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong
2011: ‘Dreams as Well’, HT Gallery, Beijing, China — ‘Contemporary Drawing, works form the Allen G. Thomas, Jr collection, The Barton Galleries, Wilson, North Carolina, USA
2010 : ‘The Borrowed Loop’, Man&Eve, London, UK — ‘Flatland’, APT Gallery, London, UK
2009: ‘Workshop of Hereafter, Imperial College, London, UK — ‘Group show’, Daniel Cooney Fine Art, New York, USA — ‘Huntorama’, Muzz Project Space, Kyoto, Japan
2007: ‘Storytelling’, Man&Eve, London, UK — ‘The Search for a Space (Questioning Spaces)’, Malta
2006: ‘Miniature Worlds’, Jerwood Space, London, UK — ‘Adam Humphries / Michael Whittle’, Laura Bartlett Gallery, London, UK — ‘Baroque My World’, Transition Gallery, London, UK — ‘Schema’, Daniel Cooney Fine Art, New York, USA — ‘Riddles of Form’, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
2005: ‘Art Futures 2005’, Bloomberg Space, London, UK — ‘Best of MA-BA’, Art Fortnight London, UK — ‘Black Body Object’, Hockney Gallery, Royal College of Art, London, UK
2004: ‘International Students Show’, Kyoto City, Kyoto — ‘Group Show’, Gasworks Studios, London, UK — ‘Le Gunn Magazine’, French institute, London, UK
2002:‘Invited Work’, Royal Glasgow Institute, Glasgow, UK — ‘Earthly Paradise’, Cooper Gallery, Dundee, UK

Awards and Scholarships
2009 – present: Japanese Government Monbukagakusho / MEXT Scholarship
2004: Kyoto City University of the Arts, Scholarship, Royal College of Art, London, UK — Agency Republic Commission Winner, London, UK
2003: Daler Rowney/Royal College of Art, Drawing Purchase Prize, London, UK — Agency Republic Commission Winner, London, UK
2002: Farquar Reid Trust Art Prize — Discovery Centenary Art Prize
2001: Erasmus Scholarship, Konstfach Art College, Sweden

FIL Invest Management Art Collection, Singapore — Progressive Art Collection, New York, USA — North Carolina Museum of Modern Art, USA — Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, New York, USA — Allen G. Thomas Junior Collection, North Carolina, USA — The Singer Collection, New York, USA — The Capitol Group, Los Angeles, USA — Royal College of Art, London, UK — Duncan Jordanstone College of Art, Scotland, UK — Kyoto University collection, Japan