George Widener: Time Lapse
A self-taught artist and a calendar savant, George Widener creates mixed-media works on paper that give aesthetic, visible form to complex calculations based on dates and historical events – the sinking of the Titanic is one of his favorite. The artist often uses found paper, or a support composed of layers of tea-stained paper napkins. His drawings feature simple palettes, sophisticated patterning, and bold compositions of dates and imagery, which transcend centuries of time and the history of art – Widener sometimes likens himself to a “time traveler.”
George Widener’s work has been extensively exhibited on a global level. The artist was part of the exhibition World Transformers: The Art of the Outsiders, at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Germany (September 24, 2010 – January 9, 2011), and Exhibition 1 at the Museum of Everything, London, UK (October 14 – December 23, 2009). Fourteen of George Widener’s works were in the exhibition Hiding Places: Memory in the Arts at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI (June 26-December 30, 2011). The artist recently had a major exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof museum in Berlin titled Secret Universe IV: George Widener, curated by the director of Nationalgalerie Berlin, Udo Kittlemann and Claudia Dichter (January 25 – June 16, 2013). Widener was also included in The Hayward Gallery, London’s exhibition The Alternative Guide to the Universe, curated by Ralph Rugoff (June 11 – September 1, 2013).
“The attempt to measure time and space anew, to place them in new meaningful contexts and to reposition them. With a specially developed system theory George Widener structures both the complexity of world events and his personal experience. In this system, numbers, dates, and codes which play a central role in his work are only partly intellectually reflected patterns. On the other hand, he investigates historical calendars and mathematical figures intensively; on the other hand, his figures are part of an inner structure, the basic system of his perception of the world. For George Widener is a savant with Asperger syndrome – a man who is an unusual island of genius.”
– Udo Kittelmann and Claudia Dichter, Secret Universe