Working South: Paintings and Sketches by Mary Whyteby Mary Whyte, Martha Severens
In Working South, renowned watercolorist Mary Whyte captures in exquisite detail the essence of vanishing blue-collar professions from across ten states in the American South with sensitivity and reverence for her subjects. From the textile mill worker and tobacco farmer to the sponge diver and elevator operator, Whyte has sought out some of the last remnants of
In Working South, renowned watercolorist Mary Whyte captures in exquisite detail the essence of vanishing blue-collar professions from across ten states in the American South with sensitivity and reverence for her subjects. From the textile mill worker and tobacco farmer to the sponge diver and elevator operator, Whyte has sought out some of the last remnants of rural and industrial workforces declining or altogether lost through changes in our economy, environment, technology, and fashion. She shows us a shoeshine man, a hat maker, an oysterman, a shrimper, a ferryman, a funeral band, and others to document that these workers existed and in a bygone era were once ubiquitous across the region.
"When a person works with little audience and few accolades, a truer portrait of character is revealed," explains Whyte in her introduction. As a genre painter with skills and intuition honed through years of practice and toil, she shares much in common with the dedication and character of her subjects. Her vibrant paintings are populated by men and women, young and old, black and white to document the range southerners whose everyday labors go unheralded while keeping the South in business. By rendering these workers amid scenes of their rough-hewn lives, Whyte shares stories of the grace, strength, and dignity exemplified in these images of fading southern ways of life and livelihood.
Working South includes a foreword by Martha Severens, curator of the Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, South Carolina.
- University of South Carolina Press
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- 10.20(w) x 11.70(h) x 0.80(d)
Meet the Author
Watercolor artist Mary Whyte is a teacher and author whose figurative paintings have earned national recognition. A resident of Johns Island, South Carolina, Whyte garners much of her inspiration from the Gullah descendents of coastal Carolina slaves who number among her most prominent subjects. Her portraits are included in numerous corporate, private, and university collections, as well as in the permanent collections of South Carolina's Greenville County Museum of Art and the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston. Her paintings have been featured in International Artist, Artist, American Artist, Watercolor, and American Art Collector, L'Art de Aquarelle, and numerous other publications. Whyte is the author of Alfreda's World, a compilation of her Gullah paintings, as well as An Artist's Way of Seeing and Watercolor for the Serious Beginner. Her work can be found at Coleman Fine Art in Charleston.
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