‘Pattern of Man’
Since the age of 12, capturing that all-encapsulating moment
behind a camera has been a guiding force in the life of Jeff Whetstone.
By the time he was preparing to graduate from Duke University in 1992, he was already arranging the perfect shots for his first show.
For the past two decades, he has examined life from behind a lens at a variety of angles. He has literally lived and breathed capturing that perfect and timeless moment in film that exploits multiple dimensions of life and emotion.
With advances in digital cameras, Whetstone’s passion in photography has grown, too, and taken him to galleries and shows he never thought he would be a part of.
His work has been the subject of more than 100 shows in galleries across the United States, including New York City and Los Angeles.
Whetstone’s latest showcase, “Pattern of Man,” which is currently on display at Appalachian State University’s Catherine J. Smith Gallery through Oct. 9, is a close-up of the natural and human environments of the Southern Appalachians.
Whetstone succinctly described his show as a “poetic response to the area’s landscape and culture.”
When viewing his show, Whetstone said he wants perceivers of his work to “see there are a lot of different ways to see the Appalachians and its people.”
Whetstone added, “There are some things intrinsically tied to how people (of the Appalachians) connect to the landscape they love and are born from.”
Other examples of Whetstone’s work are also on display in the collection, “Men at Work,” at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts on King Street in downtown Boone.
“Those pictures are part of a project exploring caves of Alabama, Georgia and contemporary cave art, which is mainly graffiti art,” Whetstone said.
Knowing the artistic perils of being a budding artist, Whetstone offered some timeless advice.
“I think that being incredibly sensitive to how you observe the world you are living in and having some type of engagement with contemporary art discourse (is important),” he said. “It’s not enough to take beautiful pictures, but to take some pictures with some tension in them. Those are the photos we think about as being more timeless.”
About the Artist
Whetstone completed his undergraduate work in zoology at Duke University and is currently an instructor in the art department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In 2001, he received a MFA from Yale University, where he also received the Sakier Memorial Prize for Excellence in Photography.
In addition to photography, Whetstone has also produced a book and exhibition about American migrant workers with Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, as well as a multimedia production, “Before the Flood,” with Appalshop, a media arts cooperative.
His photography, video and films have been exhibited internationally.
Catherine Smith Gallery
The Catherine J. Smith Gallery is located in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, located at 733 Rivers St. on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone. Admission is free for all events and programs.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and during special events. For more information, call (828) 262-7338 or visit http://www.art.appstate.edu/cjs.