Whitney McVeigh (b. 1968) is an American, London based artist. Her work focuses on the exploration of the physical and psychological elements of the human condition. Over a twenty-year period she has amassed a collection of objects in the studio weighted by their unique patternations; tracing former lives and the once tangible relationship an individual may have had with the object. As an artist, she acts as custodian of these ‘markers’, isolating yet elevating the materials, entrusting them to reflect and spur philosophical understandings of history, time and memory. Her paintings are precoccupied with the complexity and dual layers of the body and form languages with origins in Eastern and Western philosophy.
Whitney McVeigh has travelled extensively to carry out her practice and has held residencies in India, Mexico, China, Brazil and more recently at the Nirox Foundation in South Africa. She was nominated for the Sovereign European Art Prize in 2008 by Saatchi Gallery director, Rebecca Wilson. In 2012, she travelled to Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia with the BBC to make two short films about artists. McVeigh has taken part in international solo exhibitions Elegy to Nature, Eykyn Maclean, New York (2018) Dialogue, David Krut Projects, NY (2011); Archaeology of Memory at Smac Gallery / Nirox Projects, Johannesburg (2011), New Paintings, Michael Goedhuis, London (2015) and has worked in residency at NY Arts in their Beijing space. Her work was featured in,Plato in L.A.: Contemporary Artists’ Visions at the Getty Villa, Los Angeles (2018), ‘White Light/White Heat, Glasstress at the Palazzo Franchetti & Murano, 55th Venice Biennale (2013), moving image online for Extinction Marathon at the Serpentine Gallery (2014). McVeigh was featured in the BBC4 television documentary, Where is Modern Art Now (2009) alongside Sir Anthony Caro, Michael Landy, Grayson Perry and Cornelia Parker presented by Augustus Casely Hayford. In 2007 she gave a short presentation of her work at Louise Bourgeois’ Salon in NY.
‘The Happenstance of Illumination’, Simon Schama’s recent essay on McVeigh’s practice (2018) is published in Wordy, a collection of 50 essays (Simon & Schuster June 2019). Her prose and paintings were recently published in ‘Imagined Spaces’ edited by Kirsty Gunn & Gail Low (October 2020), Voyage Out Press & Saraband Books, an anthology that creates a “space” between understanding and the imagination.
From 2014-19, the artist was Creative Research Fellow at University of the Arts, London
Exhibitions include Fermata, Encounter, London (2021), What Remains, Encounter, London (2021), Artist Rooms, Encounter, London (2020), 'Intervention', Photo London, Encounter, Somerset House, London (2020), Artist Rooms, Encounter, London (2020), ‘Temporality', Cardi Projects, Cardi Gallery, London (2020), Plato in L.A.: Contemporary Artists' Visions, The Getty Villa, L.A. (2018), What is Worthwhile Doing in this World, Mount Stuart Visual Arts, Scotland (2019), Elegy to Nature, Eykyn Maclean, New York (2018), Language of Memory, Summerhall Arts, Edinburgh (2016), Inventory: Invisible Companion, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2015), New Ink Paintings, Michael Goedhuis Gallery (2015), presentation of the film ‘Birth’: Origins at the end of life at the Royal Academy, London (2015), Hunting Song, Gervasuti Foundation, 55th Venice Biennale (2013), Not a Sngle Story, The Wanas Foundation, Sweden and Nirox Foundation, South Africa (2018), Culture Lines: Sans Frontieres, Metamatic-Taf Foundation, Athens (2016), Unlocking the Diary, The Archiving of Nameless Memories, Folkestone Triennial, Kent (2014) and Glass Stress, White Light/White Heat, 55th Venice Biennale, Venice (2013).
Residencies include International Shuixang Society, Beijing, China, 2023; Museu da Natureza, Piaui, Brazil, (2019), Nirox Foundation, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa (2010), (2011) (2018, 2024), International Shuixang Society, Beijing, China (Wei Ligang), (2017), David Krut Projects, Johannesburg (2010), Centro de las Artes, San Augustin, Mexico (2008), NY Arts, Beijing, China (2006)