Cosmo Whyte was born in St. Andrew, Jamaica in 1982. He received a BFA from Bennington College in 2001, a Post Baccalaureate from Maryland College of Art in 2007 and an MFA from University of Michigan, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design in 2015. In 2017 Whyte was a Hudgens Prize finalist, nominated to represent Jamaica at the 2017 Beijing Biennial and was awarded a Walthall Artist Fellowship. Selected 2017 exhibitions include "Selling the Shadow", C-Gallery, Milan (traveling since 2016 from Cape Town and continuing to Ghana in 2018), "Relational Undercurrents" Museum of Latin American Art, L.A., The Jamaica Biannual National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston and “Jamaica Jamaica” at La Philharmonie de Paris, traveling to Brazil.
In 2016 Cosmo Whyte was included in the Atlanta Biennale at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, was the recipient of the Artadia Award, exhibited at the Prizm Art Fair, Miami, in “Musée On/Off” Musée L’ont Leux, Centre Georges Pompidou and "Jamaican Routes” at Punkt ø / Galleri F15, Oslo among others. In 2015 he was the recipient of the International Sculpture Center’s “Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award”, exhibited at the Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, GA, the National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston and the Russell Industrial Center, Detroit, among others. Exhibitions 2014 -2007 include Swan Coach House Gallery, Atlanta, Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC, United Nations Gallery, NYC, MOCA GA, Atlanta, Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College, Atlanta, and CEFATI Gallery, Portobelo, Panama among others.
Whyte has attended residencies at Elsewhere Museum, NC, Vermont Studio and Creative Currents, Panama. Publications include Art Journal, OCTOBER, JSTOR, Sculpture Magazine, Politics of Sound, Infinite Mile, Free Oxyn Press and others.
Cosmo Whyte is based in Atlanta, Georgia and Montego Bay, Jamaica and is currently a professor at Morehouse College.
My work employs drawing, performance, and sculpture to question and critique identity construction in representations of migrant peoples. My process begins with an interrogation of my own body: racialized as black, gendered as a man. I use personal experiences of migration and immigration to question colonialist constructions of masculinity, race, and belonging. My work also explores notions of identity as disrupted by migration, which I address as an unfinished arc of motion. Its final resting point remains an open-ended question.
Starting a Bush Fire is my first solo exhibition at Marcia Wood Gallery. The show comprises of drawings, sculptures and photographic documentation of performances that positions identity as a never completed process of becoming, resisting any fixed attributes or achieving any finality. The figures in the drawings either slip in and out of clarity or morph into vaguely recognizable amalgamations. The sculptures reference the ruptures and varying degrees of displacement inherent in migration. The photographic documentation seeks to situate the work in conversation with the writing of African American author James Baldwin and Jamaican/British cultural theorist Stuart Hall.