Douglas Witmer was born in 1971 and has lived and worked in Philadelphia since 1995.
Over two decades, Witmer has steadily pursued a personal inquiry into the materiality of seeing, perception, feeling and memory. He currently makes and exhibits several distinct but related bodies of work, all of which center on color-driven visual experiences resulting from direct, economical and conscious actions.
About his work, Witmer has said: “In the 21st century, I see my work as offering a clear alternative in a visual culture dominated by speed, layering, and complexity. I do not believe my work requires any prequisite knowledge beyond what you bring to it. My hope is that it can activate the sense that you simply feel yourself seeing. I like to think of that kind of moment as clear, pure, innocent, and solitary. And if you can get to it, then you have, in a way, started an experiential engine for yourself, and your thoughts can begin to move in uniquely personal directions.”
This speaks to the sense of personal history embedded in his painting, having been raised in the Mennonite culture of Lancaster County, PA with deep connections to simplicity, peacemaking, and humility.
Witmer’s work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions internationally. In 2011 an exhibition spanning a decade of the artist’s work was mounted at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. Other recent venues include: MoMA PS1, Blank Space Art, and The Painting Center (all NYC), The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Tiger Strikes Asteroid (Philadelphia), The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Gray Contemporary (Houston), Some Walls (Oakland), The University of Maryland, The University of Dayton, ParisCONCRET (France), Sydney Non-Objective (Australia), and Sol del Rio Arte Contemporanea (Guatemala City). His work is in the collections of The Woodmere Art Museum, The Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska, and The Fellowship of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, as well as numerous corporate and private collections internationally.
2001 M.F.A., The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
1993 B.A., Goshen College, Indiana
fourpart, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia
Douglas Witmer, Gray Contemporary, Houston, TX
Recent Paintings, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Alumni Gallery, Philadelphia
All Kinds of Ways to Your Garden, Blank Space Art, New York
The School Papers, NIAD Art Center, Richmond, CA
I Found A Reason, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL (catalogue)
Fruitville / The School Papers, AxD Gallery, Philadelphia
Ring the Bells Anew, Blank Space Art, New York
Fruitville, Some Walls, Oakland, CA
Field + Stream, Project Room, The Painting Center, New York
Joseph’s Coat, The Philadelphia Cathedral
Joseph’s Coat, Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis, MN
Today is the Day, M55 Art, Long Island City, NY
The Black Keys, and Other Paintings, Gallery Siano, Philadelphia, PA
Contemplation, Red Door Gallery, Richmond, VA
New Paintings, Peng Gallery, Philadelphia
Douglas Witmer, Goshen College, Goshen, IN
Recent Paintings, University City Arts League, Philadelphia.
Recent Paintings, University of Montana―Western, Dillon
Selected Group Exhibitions
Opaque Transparency, Look & Listen, Saint-Chamas, France.
Therely Bare (Redux), Zeitgeist Gallery, Nashville, TN
LINEAR FUNCTION–Alex Mayer, Nick Primo, and Douglas Witmer, Hemphill Fine Arts Carroll Square Gallery, Washington, DC
Acquired, Occasional Gallery, Burlington, WA
Three-person exhibition: Jeffrey Cortland Jones, Tim McFarlane, and Douglas Witmer, Gray Contemporary, Houston
Tiger Strikes Asteroid at (e)merge Art Fair, Washington, DC
DEPENDENCIA inDEPENDENCIA, Galleria Sol del Rio, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Should I Stay or Should I Go?, Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia
BalletX Benefit Invitational, Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia
Aloe Vera, Gray Contemporary, Houston
To Tiger With Love, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia
Mark Wethli and Douglas Witmer, ICON Contemporary Art, Brunswick, ME
Off Line and On Mark – Alain Biltereyst, Katrin Bremermann, Erin Lawlor, Lael Marshall, Don Voisine, Michael Voss, and Douglas Witmer, Parallel Art Space, Brooklyn, NY
Geometry As Sign–works by Timothy App and Douglas Witmer, Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia
Manic Episode 4, T.A.S. (Temporary Art Space), Groningen, The Netherlands
Chorus Effect, curated by Tabatha Piseno, FJORD and Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia
A Random Walk, Rowan University Art Gallery, Glassboro, NJ
Porquoi Pas…/Why Not?…, international biennial of non-objective art, Pont de Claix, France
Light Conversation, Key Projects, Ridgewood, New York
Correspondence II, TSA Gallery, Brooklyn
Reason and Romance, 6b Gallery, Elingen, Belgium
BalletX Benefit Invitational, Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia
Signs and Systems, Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia
What I Like About You, organized by Julie Torres, Parallel Art Space, Brooklyn
Winter Down, curated by Ryan McCartney and Timothy Belknap, The Icebox, Philadelphia
Surface as Signifier, University of Delaware Art Gallery at Crane Arts, Philadelphia
The Subjective Object : Louise Blyton, Roland Orepuk & Douglas Witmer, ParisCONCRET, Paris France
Surface as Signifier, Marlin Gallery, Camden County College, Blackwood, NJ
Manic Episode 3, Kunstlerhaus Dosenfabrik, Hamburg Germany
Never Underestimate a Monochrome, on-line curatorial project organized by Mariángeles Soto-Díaz
for the University of Iowa Museum of Art. http://neverunderstimateamonochrome.org
Douglas Witmer and Peter Zeebley, Studio:Christensen, Philadelphia
West Philly Abstraction, University City Arts League, Philadelphia
Crystal Days (with Timothy Buckwalter and Michael McFeat), Sugar, Philadelphia
West Philly Abstraction, University City Arts League, Philadelphia
Flirting With Abstraction, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia (catalogue)
Painted, Painted, Pressed, C2 Fine Art, St. Petersburg, FL
Faction, University of Dayton
The Life of the World to Come : Chase the Tear, NIAD Art Center, Richmond CA
Streamline, C2 Fine Art, St. Petersburg
It’s All Good (Apocalypse Now!), Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Informal Relations, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, IN
Escape from New York, The Engine Room, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
Invitational Exhibition of Small Works, New Arts Program, Kutztown PA
Ready, Willing, and Able Benefit, Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia
Preview 2010, Blank Space Gallery, New York
I Decree Today, Marx Gallery, Covington, KY
Touch Faith, Semantics, Cincinnati, OH
246 Editions, Pocket Utopia, Brooklyn
Back on My Feet Benefit, Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia
My Certain Fate, Pharmaka, Los Angeles, CA
Escape from New York, Project Space Spare Room, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
Minus Space, P.S.1/MoMA, New York, NY
Reload, M55 Art, Long Island City, NY
Considerable, University of Dayton, OH
Escape from New York, Sydney Non-Objective, Sydney, Australia
Survey, 2007, Gallery Siano, Philadelphia
Across the Borderline, University of Dayton, OH. (2-person, collaborative works with Chris Ashley)
I Walk the Line―Three Abstract Artists in the 21st Century, University of Maryland, College Park
(with Mary Early and Linn Meyers)
Suitcase, Bus-Dori project space, Tokyo, Japan
Pfenninger Gallery, Lancaster, PA
The Urban Canvas, Gallery Siano, Philadelphia
From the Studio, Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Philadelphia.
Repetition and Transformation, The Philadelphia Cathedral
Peng Gallery, Philadelphia. (3-person with Dennis Lo and Leslie Wagner)
New Talent, Signal 66, Washington, DC
White Light, The Beehive Salon, Philadelphia.
From Abstraction to Representation, The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA
3rd Annual Young Painters Competition for the William and Dorothy Yeck Award, Miami University of Ohio, Oxford
Art in City Hall, Philadelphia City Hall, Philadelphia
2015 Visiting Artist, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Visiting Artist/Lecture, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
2014 Panel discussion, Contemporary Philadelphia Abstraction, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia
2013 Panel discussion, Surface as Signifier, University of Delaware
2012 Selected as one of nine artists for Philadelphia’s inaugural Art CSA program, administered by Tiger Strikes Asteroid and Grizzly Grizzly artist collectives with funding by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Gallery Committee, University City Arts League, Philadelphia
2011 Thomas P. Johnson Visiting Scholar, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL.
2009 Visiting Artist/Lecture, Goshen College, IN
2007 Lecture, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York City
Visiting Artist/Critic, University of Dayton, OH
2006 Artist-in-Residence/Critic/Lecture, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City
2005-present Artist selection committee, 40th Street Artist-in-Residence program, administered by
The University of Pennsylvania
2005 Artist-in-Residence, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore / Glen Arbor Art Association Glen Arbor, MI
2002 Visiting Artist/Lecture, Goshen College, IN
2000 Residency Grant, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson
Jenkins, Mark, “In The Galleries—Line and Function Intersect,” The Washington Post, April 10
Singer, Matthew, “In Other Words: The Spirit of Fraktur in Modern and Contemporary Art,” Framing Fraktur, ed. Judith Tannenbaum, Philadelphia: The Free Library of Philadelphia / University of Pennsylvania Press.
Panero, James, “Gallery Chronicle,” The New Criterion, http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Gallery-chronicle-7929, June
Raymond, David, “Mark Wethli and Douglas Witmer at ICON Contemporary Art,” Art New England, (in print and online) June/July
Tommaney, Jim J., “Gray Contemporary Hosts A Bright Colorful Show with Aloe Vera, Houston Press, http://blogs.houstonpress.com/artattack/2014/08/aloe_vera.php, August 18.
Alexander, Steven, “Douglas Witmer at Blank Space,” Steven Alexander Journal, http://stevenalexanderjournal.blogspot.com, March 3.
Brennan, Valerie, “Douglas Witmer” (interview), Studio Critical, http://studiocritical.blogspot.com, February 25
Fabbri, Anne R., “The Medium is the Message,” Broad Street Review, http://www.broadstreetreview.com, March 2
Mattera, Joanne, “Painting in Chelsea,” Joanne Mattera Art Blog, http://joannemattera.blogspot.com, March 3
Newhall, Edith, “Galleries : August Abstraction,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 26
Newhouse, Sam, “Chase the Dog Days Away—A Summer Themed Show at Tiger Strikes Asteroid,” The ArtBlog, http://theartblog.org, August 19
Schwartz, Chip, “Little Barnes on the Prairie—Winter Down’s Jewelbox Salon at the Crane’s Icebox,” The Artblog, http://theartblog.org, January 13
Schwartz, Chip, “Six Artists with Summery Abstraction at Tiger Strikes Asteroid,” Knight Arts Blog, http://knightarts.org, August 8
Rosof, Libby, “Douglas Witmer on art and modesty” (interview), The Artblog, http://theartblog.org, June 1
Mason-Gaines, Joel and Megan Matuzak, “University City: Making Space for the Arts,” Philadelphia Neighborhoods, http://sct.temple.edu/blogs/murl/, April 30
Rosenthal, James, “Crystal Days at Sugar,” Pocket Intellectual, http://pocketintellectual.blogspot.com, March 13.
Rosof, Libby, “West Philadelphia Looking is Good, The ArtBlog, http://theartblog.org, March 22.
Sexton, Courtney, “Pop-up Art, Palpable Connections, and Papermade Fabulousness,” City Paper : Critical Mass blog, http://www.citypaper.net/blogs/criticalmass/CURATOR-March-9.html, March 9.
Ashley, Chris, “A Way to Be in the World,” catalogue essay for I Found A Reason, Cornell Fine Arts
Museum, Rollins College, July.
Cognard-Black, Jennifer, “Streamline,” essay for exhibition of the same title, C2 Fine Art, St. Petersburg, July.
D’Alesandro, Dennis, “Douglas Witmer’s Fruitville and School Papers at AxD,” The Artblog, Mar 15.
Young, Jessica Bryce, “Pulp Fictions—Douglas Witmer’s meditative works on wood and paper,” Orlando Weekly,
Ashley, Chris, “Fruitville,” essay for exhibition of the same title, Some Walls, Oakland CA.
Gierschick, P. Timothy, “Douglas Witmer at Blank Space Gallery,” Gierschickwork,
http://gierschickwork.blogspot.com, March 16
Kirsch, Andrea, “Philadelphia Notes: Contemplative Minimalism” The ArtBlog, http://theartblog.org, February 9
Mattera, Joanne, “Witmer and Patterson at The Painting Center,” Joanne Mattera Art Blog,
http://joannemattera.blogspot.com, June 17
Hallard, Brent, “How Soon is Now?,” interview, Visual Discrepancies blog, http://brenthallard.wordpress.com,
Collaizi, Vittorio, “A Vigilant Turn from Complacency,” Brick Weekly, Richmond VA, January 11.
Koo, Li, “Gallery Notes: I Walk the Line,” podcast interview, University of Maryland, March.
Newhall, Edith, “Summery Summary,” The Philadelphia Inquirer,” August 3
Wagner, Laura, “‘Art Pals’ Feature Works in Rike,” Dayton Flyer News, January 19
Strickland, Heather, “Eclecticism on Display at Red Door Gallery, The Collegian, University of Richmond, Dec 7
Ashley, Chris, “In Conversation with Douglas Witmer,” Minus Space, Brooklyn, NY. December.
Hallard, Brent, “X Marks the Spot,” Project 131 (on-line), July 2005. www.brenthallard.com
Hill, Lori, “First Friday Focus: Gallery Siano,” Philadelphia City Paper, Thursday, October 6.
Holzman, Paula, “Two Takes on the Abstract,” Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, October 21
Romaniello, Vincent, “Douglas Witmer,” on-line video documentary, www.vincentromaniello.com/vlog, winter Silverthorne, Alexandra, “Artists Interview Artists,” Thinking About Art (on-line), August.
Doering, Elizabeth H., “Repetition and Transformation,” essay for exhibition of the same title,
The Philadelphia Cathedral, January
Fallon, Roberta, “A-List: Repetition and Transformation,” Philadelphia Weekly,” January 21
Hill, Lori, “First Friday Focus: Peng Gallery,” Philadelphia City Paper, Thursday, April 4
Patterson, Carrie, “From Abstraction to Representation,” exhibition catalogue essay for exhibition of the
same title, Andrews Gallery, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, November
Walz, Jonathan F., “Reality Check,” exhibition brochure essay, Peng Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, April.
Knapp, Tom, “Uncommon Ground,” Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, August 3
The Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia
The Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
The City of Philadelphia
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Duane Morris, LLP, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Atlanta, Lake Tahoe, San Diego, Singapore,
Ho Chi Minh City
Wolf, Block, Schorr, and Solis-Cohen, LLP, Philadelphia
NanoSystems, King of Prussia, PA
Private collections in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Minus Space flatfile, Brooklyn, NY
Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia
Gray Contemporary, Houston, TX
Sol del Río Arte Contemporánea, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Geoform, an online scholarly and curatorial project examining geometric form and structure in contemporary abstract art being made by artists from around the world.