Smiths Grove, Kentucky
Mark Whitley is a sculptor, songwriter and arts advocate. Drawing lines beween visual forms and cultural references,Whitley re-contextualizes and opens up new meanings using a combination of materials to create original design in wood, metal and leather. Starting with a place, an image, a specific memory, or an object, he creates structures and narratives using personal symbolism and different modes of representation. His original wood designs are spiritual explorations and have been exhibited worldwide. His knowledge of American hardwoods and his curiosity to push the medium to new levels has taken his work to many public and private collections. He has an aggressive exhibition schedule and still finds time to present at shows focused on innovation and design like the Slow Food and Idea Festival of Kentucky’s Sustainability Festival. He was recently featured in the Smithsonian Craft Show, the pinnacle for fine craft in America, and has won the Kentucky Arts Council’s top Individual Artist Fellowship, the Al Smith Award. Whitley’s portfolio is large and shows his constant desire to push the boundaries of woodworking into sculptural forms while retaining form, function and relevance. He is currently working on new designs for several museums and corporate collections.
Good wood speaks softly
Chips and dust feed my soul’s heart
furniture is born
This bio/description was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2015. For more current information, please refer to the award recipient's website (if provided).