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Mary Whisonant ~ Photographer
Light plays a primal role in my work. Light, for me has the ability to be elusive, mystical or profound and can transcend our physical being on this earth. The play between light and dark is an emotional scale, which never ceases to amaze me. For my photographic imagery, I approach the digital canvas like a painter, first with a concept for the series, framing the subject through the lens and then pulling a brush across a darkened canvas catching the subtle play of light followed by dabbles of textured paint heightening the sparkles of light and then finally creating strong, dark areas contrasted against the light. In art, as in life, I dance between the two: the pitch black void, which threatens to overcome us and the blinding light to which we are ultimately drawn.
The images for Whisonant's work are shot with a Nikon D70s or a Nikon 300S in JPEG or RAW format and printed on an Epson Pro7800 or a commercial large format printer and framed with acid free matting.
Mary Whisonant is professor emerita of art, University of South Carolina Beaufort. Until her retirement in 1997 she taught art history and studio courses in design, metal/enamels and surface design. Whisonant has held faculty positions at Arrowmont School, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Laurel Bay Military Dependant Schools, and was a frequent workshop leader throughout the southeast and an exhibiting member of Piedmont Craftsmen. Her work in metal and fiber is included in the permanent collections at the Mint Museum, R.J. Reynolds, Arrowmont School in Gatlinburg, the Lannon Foundation in Palm Beach, the Elliott Springs Memorial Hospital, Lancaster (SC), the Beaufort (SC) Museum and her work in various media is included in private collections in Dallas, Detroit, New York, Britain and Austria. Whisonant retired to Lincolnton, NC, in 1997 but still divides her time between Beaufort, SC, and Lincolnton and has turned her artistic focus to digital photography. It is the palms and palmettos of her beloved low country, which are the subjects of many of her photographs. Her photographic series, A Sense of Place, done in celebration of McAlister farm, located in Lincolnton, is included in the permanent collection of the Carolina Medical Center-Lincoln hospital scheduled to open July 2010.
In Lincolnton she has been guest curator for the Lincoln County Historical Association presenting two art exhibitions at the Cultural Center in the spring of 2008, brought art exhibitions to St. Luke's Episcopal Church, and installed a parish art exhibition, “Renaissance at St. Luke’s” also in 2008. In Lincolnton she, along with Karen Banker and Sarah Paris, set up and ran the successful first Downtown Lincolnton Art Stroll, 2008, and her work was shown in the two woman show "Two Broads and a Band" at the Art Stroll.
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