Dancer's Prep (2009) by William Whitaker
Oil on Panel
16 x 12 in.
Framed: 23 ¾ x 19 ¾ in.
Signed lower right
In a quiet moment, a member of the dance company prepares for practice. Sitting upon a simple bentwood chair she makes the final adjustment of fixing her socks. Against the raw ground and loose brushstrokes, the dancer is pushed to the forefront of the composition. The classical painting technique of William Whitaker (1943-2018), combined with an expert use of light, focuses the eye on subject; but it's his bold strokes of colour at the top of the painting that also pull the viewer into the work as they are juxtaposed against the subdued colours of the composition below. The work is representative of Whitaker's classical-realist style and his ability to embody the likeness and spirit of a figure.
A student of academic and salon art, Whitaker studied at the University of Utah, under the tutelage of academic drawing professor, Alvin Gittins, where he learned a thorough understanding of figure drawing. He later studied at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, before making the move to the Brigham Young University, where he became an Associate professor within the Fine Arts department.
The works of Whitaker have been displayed in prominent exhibitions throughout his career, earning many accolades, including, the National Academy of Western Art; the Cowboy Hall of Fame Watercolor Exhibition; the National Academy of Western Art; the Springville Museum Spring Salon; and his work was in the 1981 American Western Art Exhibition in Beijing, China.