Lamar Whidbee, detail of As a Man… Series
December 1, 2023 - January 28, 2024 // Gallery 2
For artist Lamar Whidbee, painting is a powerful tool to communicate the complexities of human experience and the shifts that take place in our psyches as we move through our lives. His work combines representation with abstraction, allowing the materiality of his medium to perform as an active player in the autobiographical narrative he presents. Our reality is not just what we see, but what we feel, perceive, and remember. In this way, what is real is unique for each of us. By combining his skill for rendering naturalistic paintings of himself, his children, and his wife, with texture, intuitive mark making, and a playful use of color and pattern, Whidbee is able to present his particular reality in a way that we can all connect to. The title of this exhibition, Amygdala, refers to an almond shaped structure in our brains that allows us to experience emotions. This small area of gray matter is essential to our humanity. It colors our experiences and shapes our sense of self.
As individuals, we are always trying to piece ourselves together in a way that is genuine and true, but through experiences such as parenthood and partnership, we lose parts of the puzzle. We seem to get it together enough to present to the outside world, but we perceive those missing pieces on a visceral level. They are tangled in a mess of joy and grief. These paintings reveal that experience through the lens of a black man, presenting a gut wrenching and extraordinarily beautiful picture of the impact family has on our individual sense of self with strength, vulnerability, and humility.
Annah Lee, Creative Director
Lamar Whidbee, As A Man… Series
Lamar Whidbee, I Do
Lamar Whidbee, Remember Your Name
Lamar Whidbee, Slow Down
Lamar Whidbee, born and raised in the town of Hertford, North Carolina, embarked on a unique journey that evolved from a collegiate football career to the world of visual art and mental health therapy. After receiving a football scholarship at Winston-Salem State University and transferring to North Carolina Central University, his path took an artistic turn.
During his undergraduate years, Whidbee found mentorship under Dr. Beverly McIver, igniting his passion for art. His academic pursuits led to an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a License in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from North Carolina State University.
As an artist, educator, and therapist, Whidbee shared his insights in middle schools, universities, and in the beautiful minds of many amazing individuals. Beyond his professional life, he’s a husband of ten years and a father of two.
Whidbee channels his creative energy into art that explores mental health and parenting, employing mediums like oil, acrylic, charcoal, and graphite to convey the depth of human emotions.
Today, Lamar Whidbee approaches the contemporary art scene, using his craft to spark conversations on mental health and parenting, offering profound insights into the human experience.