June 14, 2017
Cosmo Whyte (MFA 2015) has been selected as a finalist for the 2017 Hudgens Prize.
Each year, one finalist is selected to receive the Hudgens Prize, including a cash award of $50,000 and a solo exhibition. The Hudgens Prize visual arts competition is intended to elevate the arts in Georgia and to offer a transformational opportunity to one Georgia artist. Learn more about the Hudgens Prize.
Cosmo Whyte’s work weaves personal history, secret ritual and the inflicted emotional and physical trauma from colonization into textured works that inform a sense of identity. Growing up in Jamaica and now living in the United States, Whyte’s art traverses through the inquiry of “how notions of identity are disrupted by migration — particularly migration as an unfinished arc of motion whose final resting point remains an open-ended question,” as he writes in his artist statement. Each of his works can be viewed as a ritualistic or emotional map, a guide into his inquiries of how historic abuses continue to generate forced identities.
Whyte moves through a range of artistic mediums — painting, built objects, photography and performance — as his ideas emerge and develop. For Whyte, art making starts with an idea. The idea comes to being through decisive exploration of a material. His materials range from paper, gold leaf, charcoal, to photography and the performance of a silent ritual, to bike wheels, speakers and sound. This exploratory process leads him to thoughtfully describe his practice as transdisciplinary, where the engagement with a specific material becomes the focus of a piece. As Whyte says regarding his process, “I understand that within each medium there is inherent strengths and weakness.” The tension between polarities not only is a guide for his creation but also a theme he confronts and presents in his works.
Photo: Jamie Hopper