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Mary Whitfield

American, contemporary.
Born 1947, Birmingham, Alabama.

Self-taught artist Mary F. Whitfieldwas born 1947 in Birmingham, Alabama USA. She is best known for her affecting portrayals of her ancestors’ heritage during the slavery epoch. She paints poignant scenes of America’s morally challenged history, capturing the boldness and dignity of African-Americans, whether through an interior scene of a mother cradling her baby, little girls playing double-dutch jump rope outdoors, or a profound lynching scene. 

Mary Whitfield was a recipient of artist-in-residence, American Folk Art Museum, NYC, 1996; residency at the MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH, 1997; and grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, NYC, 2000. 

Courtesy of Phyllis Stigliano Art Projects

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2015, Mary Whitfield, remember your past, Phyllis Stigliano Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2009, Rainbow of Uneven Colors: Mary Whitfield, Phyllis Stigliano Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2007, Mary Frances Whitfield Retrospective, guest curated by Laurie Griesedieck Carmody Ahner, Blackworld History Museum, Saint Louis, MO

2004, Mary Frances Whitfield. Lynchings, remember each of them, Phyllis Stigliano Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2001, Mary Whitfield, Katharina Rich Perlow Gallery, New York, NY

1998, Broken Dreams: Artwork by Mary Whitfield, Karl Drerup Fine Arts Gallery, Plymouth State College, Plymouth, NH

1991, Recent Paintings by Mary Whitfield, organized by Phyllis Stigliano, ANGEL.Diversified Art Services, Sea Cliff Gallery, Sea Cliff, NY

Selected Group Exhibitions

2012-2013, The Female Gaze: Women Artists Making Their World, curated by Robert Cozzolino, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

2012, Intimate Interiors, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL

2008, Pollock – Krasner at Gallery North, curated by Philip Palmedo, Gallery North, Setauket, NY

2003-2004, Figuring the Feminine, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL

2001-2002, The Art of War and Peace, curated by Michael Bonesteel, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD

2001, New York Collection 2001, loan courtesy of Katharina Rich Perlow Gallery, Abright-Knox Museum, Buffalo, NY

1999, African American History Month, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

1998-1999, Love: Error and Eros, guest curated by John and Maggie Maizels, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD

1996-1997,Wind in My Hair, guest curated by Susanne Theis, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD

1996, Difficult Women, Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York, NY

1995-1996, Speaking in Forms: African and African American Art from the Permanent Collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL

1995-1996, Tree of Life, curated by Roger Manley, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD

1995, Self-Taught Artists from the Collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL

Selected Collections

Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL
Oprah Winfrey
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Linda Lee Alter Collection, Philadelphia, PA

Selected Bibliography

Essays by Laurie Griesedieck Carmody Ahner and Phyllis Stigliano, Mary Frances Whitfield Retrospective, Blackworld History Museum, Saint Louis, Missouri, 2007. 

Kuehl, Claudia, “On the Outside Looking Out,” The New York Times, New Jersey, Sunday, 23 July, pp.1, 6-7, (illustrations); Long Island, pp. 1,10-11(illustrations); and Westchester (illustrations), 2000. 

Silver, Sara of The Associated Press, “Artist paints history of slavery,” Gannett Newspapers, Westchester, NY, Sunday, 27 September, p.6C, 1998. 

Silver, Sara of The Associated Precess, “Artist’s use of lynching in art from her heart,” Journal Star, Peoria, Illinois, Sunday, 27 September, p. C3, 1998.

Hoffberger, Rebecca, Roger Manley and Colin Wilson, Tree of Life, Inaugural exhibition, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, 1996

Oppenheimer, Judy, “a cast of thousands,” Visions: Tree of Life-the inaugural exhibition of the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, November, p. 16, (illustration), 1995. 

Boyer, Keith and Kathy Kemp, Revelations: Alabama’s Visionary Folk Artists, Birmingham, Alabama: Crane Hill Publishers, 1994.

Braff, Phyllis, “Allegories, Old Stories and Psychology: Mary Whitfield: A History Book,” The New York Times, Long Island, Sunday, 21 February, p. 11, 1993. 

Willen, Liz, “Exhibiting the Black Experience: Art, and other LI tributes honor King,” Newsday, Friday, 17 January, p. 27 (illustration), 1992. 

Moorman, Margaret, “Grandma’s Memories on Canvas,” Newsday, Part II, Friday, 1 March, p. 78 (illustration), 1991.
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