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Sacred Spaces

Graphite drawings by Marikay Peter Witlock

July 30 - August 17, 2018


Artist’s Statement:


Let the earth speak for me.

Let the earth tell my stories,

express my sense of awe, my sense of loss,

my sense of rejoicing.

The earth holds my memories and dreams.

c2000 Marikay Peter Witlock



Figure, architecture and nature interweave to capture an emotion, articulate a memory or capture a dream in the  drawing cycle Sacred Spaces.  Each element is selected, each detail deliberated, to create the narrative expressed in each drawing.  Some common elements include the column, used as an iconographic tool to convey a place of significance, a place of gathering, or a link to the spiritual.  Gesture, clothing, and attitude of the figures are linked with the environment to further the artistic and conceptual expression of each drawing.  These figures are all real people, kind enough to allow their likeness to be integrated into these artworks.  The drawings are personal, yet often universal in interpretation.  I hope they will inspire thoughtful conversation. 



A Statement on Drawing

For me the act of drawing is a dance, a meditation, and a re-creation of time and place.  The dance is the physical act of drawing, the pencil pressing on the paper, the cotton fibers responding to my touch. It is the feel of the graphite stick between my fingers and the paper under my hand. A careful touch creates a gentle layer of graphite.  A fuller movement with hand and arm brings a strong, dark line. Continuous motion and a scribble on paper build volume.  My mind’s eye travels around my subject, creating negative space, drawing the air between objects, figures, grasses or trees.  The drawing dance is a pleasurable experience, an evolution of empty paper into light, space and object. Meditation arrives as graphite builds on paper.  The meditation continues as I reclaim the experience of time and place for the subject of each drawing.  The anticipation of drawing causes me to be purposeful, awake and attentive as I move about the world.  The focus opens my life to deeper experience. The drawings allow me the pleasure of reviewing life’s moments and finding greater beauty in the re-creation of time and place.


As for method, I sometimes work in the studio and other times work in the outdoors. For studio work I often rely on the sketches and photographs I’ve created while walking in nature.  To create images of fleeting moments like sunset, moonrise or fog I work solely from memories of landforms, grasses and trees, atmosphere, light and skies.  In the studio I work at a drawing table and move to the easel. When working on site, I may sit in the meadow with artwork on my lap, or I may stand at the edge of a trail.  Wherever I work, I move into my drawing, I step back, I reengage.  As my artwork develops, I search for the spirit of place on my page. Once that spirit arrives, the drawing is complete.  

About the Artist
Marikay Peter Witlock is a Chicago area native who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in painting and drawing from Millikin University, Decatur, IL followed by graduate studies in studio arts and art history at the Universities of Georgia and Maryland. Since the 1980’s her work has been featured in over twenty-five solo shows including exhibitions at the prestigious Arts Club of Washington, Washington DC and The Union League Club of Chicago. Witlock’s artwork is represented in more than 400 corporate and private collections throughout the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Sacred-Spaces #16  12x6.jpg

Marikay Peter Whitlock

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