GEORGE WIDENER

 

 

 

2014 Wynn Newhouse Awards Exhibition

Palitz Gallery

April 14 – May 21 , 2015

 

Asperger/Autism Spectrum Disorder syndrome is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development.

A self-taught artist and a calendar savant, George Widener creates mixed-media works on paper that give aesthetic, visible form to complex calculations based on dates and historical events–the sinking of the Titanic is one of his favorites. The artist often uses found paper, or a support composed of layers of tea-stained paper napkins. His drawings feature simple palettes, sophisticated patterning, and bold compositions of dates and imagery that transcend centuries of time and the history of art. Widener sometimes likens himself to a “time traveler”.

As the artist states, “[In my art] I am using the dates as the medium. I wondered if I could create a pattern of [dates of] disasters or of weather, and start predicting. Hypothetically, if everything adds up but there is one [date] missing and a future date fits in, does that mean there will be storms? That fascinated me.

I began to get a bit obsessed with things like numbers as a child. They calmed me down in my times of stress. I sort of regressed. I started to retreat. I was filling my notebooks up with the dates. I had dozens of notebooks in a backpack.

Eventually, I was put in hospital and diagnosed with Asperger/Autism Syndrome, after which I became more able to accept myself and control my obsession with dates. I consider certain ‘runs’ of numbers in dates to be telling a undiscovered story. These runs will eventually say something to future machine life forms, and I am always looking out for them.