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Global Folly: A New Portfolio by Jo Whaley

An Indecorous Disturbance, 1989 -- Jo Whaley
We are excited to announce a new portfolio of images from her early work, Global Folly, by represented artist Jo Whaley. Two photographs from this series are included in our current exhibition, The Nude – Classical, Cultural, Contemporary. The human body has been used as a vehicle to examine a wide range of subjects, from concepts of fertility and the divine, to mathematical ratios, to social and cultural ideals. It is a practice that artists continue to engage with and explore to this day; the nude endures as an ideal subject for expressions of beauty, allegory, emotion and humanity. In this series, Whaley explores the question: “If our natural world is really a paradise, are we causing our own expulsion?”

For the photographs in Global Folly, Whaley created elaborate stage sets, painted backdrops and utilized gel filters to paint with light, “employing an expressive use of color, rather than a descriptive one.” Whaley’s highly controlled use of color emanates a painterly, theatric quality in her photographs. The theatrical stage upon which her models pose elevates the fictional narrative to the allegorical myth of the Garden of Eden. However, Whaley poses the concept of a “global folly” – the garden’s decay at the hand of human intervention.

The Birth of Venus, 1990 -- Jo Whaley
“Birth of Venus,” the famous 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli, depicts the goddess Venus emerging from a seashell. In Whaley’s recreated photograph of the same title, the nude woman emerges from a modern wasteland of old tires and debris.

The Inquiry of Gaia, 1990 -- Jo Whaley
In “The Inquiry of Gaia, 1990” Whaley illustrates the inquisitive Greek goddess of Earth, Gaia. She is depicted inspecting the Earth under a microscope as a bird looks on. An anatomical heart rests idly on the table, symbolic of the pleasures and pains associated with the earthly body. Gaia’s scientific approach speaks to an innate human desire to reconcile both the abstract emotions of the heart and the empirical mind.

Whaley writes, “Global Folly forms the visionary and stylistic basis of all my subsequent bodies of work. In these narrative fictions, the figures are shown under acid rain skies, amongst the debris of urban culture or pouring tea, while some explosion blasts through the distance. While these images depict a cautionary tale, they are intentionally sensual, having a baroque sensibility of opulent decay.”

View the entire Global Folly portfolio

For more information about Jo Whaley's work or to inquire about purchasing a print, please email Anne Kelly or call 505-988-5159 ext. 121.