I use repetition as a way of emphasizing that whatever separates us, we share at least one thing in common—a body. The marks I make with my hands are gestures repeated as you look at them with your eyes. We are engaged in different aspects of the same activity. The mark becomes the focal point of a shared experience, which in turn becomes a source of meaning. My paintings may resemble a code or language of some kind, but there is no message to decipher. This is not meant to frustrate you, but to remind you that we are equals. We are both involved in the creation of meaning, and ultimately, we are both authors of the work.


William Whitaker is a painter living and working in Washington, DC. His work explores the connection between artist and viewer through visual experience. With a minimal range of marks, Whitaker’s paintings seek to move beyond imagery and language, and to engage with the viewer as an equal participant in the creation of meaning. His work was recently included in ‘Strictly Painting 12’, an exhibition at the McLean Project for the Arts of painters from across the mid-Atlantic region, curated by Adah Rose Bitterbaum. He gave a talk about his work this past fall at the National Gallery of Art, as part of the ‘Works in Progress’ lecture series, his second time participating in that program.



2013    February 15-March 17

Distributed Processes​, District of Columbia Arts Center, Washington, DC


2020    April 10-ongoing

The Unknowable Present

online exhibition curated by Chandi Kelley

2019    June 8-July 13

Strictly Painting 12

McClean Project for the Arts, McClean, VA

juried by Adah Rose Bitterbaum, Adah Rose Gallery

2014    November 22

Transformer 11th Annual Silent Auction

Katzen Arts Center, American University

2013    April 10-June 9

Washington Project for the Arts OPTIONS 2013​, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA curated by Gerald Ross, Maryland Institute College of Art


2019    Something, Anything, Everything, Nothing: William Whitaker in Conversation with Molly Donovan artist talk given as part of the “Works in Progress” series at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

2013    A Structure Unseen: Painting and Memory, artist talk given as part of the “Works in Progress” series at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

2011     Semi-Finalist, Trawick Prize, Bethesda Urban Partnership


Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, 1997

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting