Guy James Whitworth Solo Exhibition
What is happiness and can it be created through art?
Artist and author, Guy James Whitworth explores that question in his forthcoming exhibition, You Can’t Say Happiness…
Featuring works created in the last two years and inspired by Whitworth’s personal experience of lockdown, You Can’t Say Happiness… is a collection of paintings that depict the search and expression of pure joy.
“The past eighteen months have been really tough on most of us, but I’m so lucky that I’ve been able to process my frustrations through my work,’ says Whitworth. ‘I’ve been tucked away in my studio, questioning ‘what is joy’ and exploring ways to depict the answers to that question, so I’d often find myself in a state of utter contentment - in contradiction to what was happening outside in the real world!”
Whitworth is considered one of Sydney’s most prominent and well-loved LGBTQI artists. His work is infused with wit and incisive social commentary; rebellious, edgy, yet quite accessible. His signature bold, brightly coloured portraits of the Sydney queer scene are highly sought after and many reside among esteemed Australian art collections.
This is Whitworth’s seventh solo exhibition, with previous shows having drawn enthusiastic praise from critics and buyers. You Can’t Say Happiness… is an artistic culmination of the past two years, which certainly have not been lacking in food for thought.
“Representing joy - which I think has been in great shortage in a lot of our lives of late - has been the challenge I set myself.”
“One of my biggest challenges for this show was completing portraits while not being able to see people face to face. Trying to really get under the skin of someone, trying to work out what makes them tick is difficult enough, but when it’s done over a laptop screen, it can be nigh on impossible. A lot of my time on these portrait sessions were spent trying to get people to laugh - like, really big belly laugh - and taking screen shots of that particular moment when joy was truly visible. I guess, like all good artists, I just have to make the most of what I’ve got to work with!”
“Even the extended title of the show: You Can’t Say Happiness, Without Saying Penis is meant to make people smile. I think if, at this moment in time, as an artist, I can’t make someone’s burden more manageable through experiencing joy through my art, then I’m failing as an artist!”
Whitworth is as deft with a pen as he is with a brush and has published two books with a third on its way. Signs of A Struggle (2019) and Enough of Your Nonsense (2021) reveal Whitworth’s knack for good, riveting storytelling. Sharing - sometimes with alarming candour - personal anecdotes, sardonic observations, and the inner workings of his creative mind, Whitworth is as warm, funny, and unbridled in his writing as he is in his painting.
Passionately plant-based, Whitworth along with his partner Ryan Alexander founded the global No Meat May campaign, challenging people to cut down on animal products for the month of May. Whitworth is actively engaged in environmental and social issues and is a recognised figure in the LGBTQI community.
Open from Midday to 6pm daily.
(Enough Of Your Nonsense is published by Clouds of Magellan Press)
For more information, please contact Guy James Whitworth directly at firstname.lastname@example.org