Justin Witte: Regenboog Broer

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Above: Justin Witte, Zone and Zonen (detail), 2013, Mylar, acrylic and oil on board, 48 x 48 inches

Gallery 2 & Foyer

Regenboog Broer features an immersive painting installation using geometric distortion, light and color to transform the passage spaces at the Art Center. Overlapping large-scale monoprints, paintings on canvas and tinted plastics saturate the 70-foot-long gallery wall in gradual bands of blue-green. The radiating design is inspired by decorative faux-Malachite treatments applied to surfaces or objects often to embellish domestic interiors. Witte explains, “I enjoyed the look of these objects, but I’m also interested in how [people] use an abstract painted surface to present the illusion of value. I’ve always had an interest in obscured, or partially obscured imagery, and I saw the faux-malachite as a logical tool for covering and obscuring a space.” Real malachite is a semi-precious stone that is also thought of in spiritual circles to soak up negative energies and toxins to instill a protective energy in spaces – a timely response to the increase of malicious, evil acts inflicted on people in nurturing spaces like schools and social-service agencies. 

In addition to the painted installation, the exhibition will include a separate site-specific installation on the glass doors and windows of the Art Center’s main entrance. Using prismatic tape, the artwork refracts sunlight to create striations of rainbows slowly shifting throughout the space. The title of the exhibition is Dutch for “rainbow brother” and references both the optical effects of this new installation and the artist’s disorienting relationship with his parents’ mother tongue. In both installations, Witte imitates organic patterns in his paintings, prints, and installations to explore the way color, light, and natural phenomena challenge our understanding of our immediate architectural surroundings.

Justin Witte (b. 1977, Grand Rapids, MI) is a painter, curator, and art administrator based in Chicago. He received a MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. His work has been featured in exhibitions at Roots & Culture Contemporary Art Center, Gallery 400, the Elder Gallery (Lincoln, NE), Florida State University Museum of Fine Art (Tallahassee, FL), Vox Populi and Space 1026 (Philadelphia) and the D.U.M.B.O. Arts Center (NYC). He is the recipient of the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and a Union League Civic Arts Foundation Award. He is currently the Director and Curator of the Cleve Carney Gallery at the College of DuPage.

This project is made possible in part by the College of DuPage Foundation.