These pieces are from Whitlock’s Sacrifice Zones series, referring to people and geographic areas harmed by environmental damage or economic and social disinvestment. Whitlock explores what it means to create distance—between artist and subject, between image and viewer— radically altering the digital photographs by fiercely shifting the colors to strain legibility. Eyeball-assaulting vibrancy captures the viewer’s attention, yet these images have an internal contradiction. Though they demand to be noticed, images of recognizable subjects dissolve into a nearly impenetrable wall of abstraction. Seeing does not always mean understanding. She wants to prevent the viewer from forming the illusion—perhaps habitual when looking at photography with poignant or painful subject matter—that we can have even an indirect experience of these places. Instead, She creates an uncertainty, that invites the viewer to ask questions.
St Thomas (2016) 40″ x 60″ | Archival pigment print. Limited edition of 10 | $810