Assistant Professor of Art
M.F.A. Washington University in St. Louis, MO
Whitney teaches Painting, Drawing, and Foundations coursework at Siena Heights. A multidisciplinary artist at heart, Whitney’s studio practice combines the practices of painting, sculpture, installation and fibers to address urban history and the plight of midwestern "rust belt" cities. Her process of making is heavily influenced by labor-intensive traditions of painting, drawing and domestic craft production in the creation of iterative series that in their display and recontextualization are influenced by the contemporary art modalities of installation and community-based practice. Whitney's work aims to provide empathetic entrypoints for the audience into addressing the plight of struggling urban communities, and often aims to critique representations of those communities and the social, cultural and political forces at the heart of urban disinvestment and devolution.
In working with young artists, my pedagogical approach to coursework places an emphasis on craftsmanship, intentionality, critical observation, reflective production, persistent refinement and stylistic versatility. With an emphasis on experimentation, production and reflection, my courses focus on refining artistic skill and resiliency while producing makers who see the value of life-long learning and the persistent labor necessary to sustain creative growth. Introductory coursework focuses on atelier observation-based description and technical refinement juxtaposed with projects that focus on formal concerns of design, abstraction and expression. As my students progress into advanced-level coursework, my aim is to refocus previous learning in technical execution into the conscientious application of material as a component of content development, familiarizing students with how to apply and manipulate previously learned technical craft and techniques to serve intellectual content and successfully convey meaning, while enabling students to discover a refined and individualistic artistic voice. In the facing the challenges of 21st century life, my intent as an educator is to empower students to set high personal standards, find value in productive failure and risk-taking and build artistic, intellectual and emotional strength and efficacy.