MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)Prior to 2012
Artist StatementMy work attempts to reconcile a deep interest in psychology with a personal, at times troubled, relationship with institutional belief. I am interested in how certain socio-cultural archetypes bring to question personal issues of faith, loss of life, and self-preservation. I begin with the question: How does one currently experience safety? How does one confront death? Or, what things in society give the individual a sense of control? The results are works that attempt to reveal the disparity between the symbolic significance prescribed to familiar, albeit highly charged objects, and their uncertain physical and ideological efficacy. --P. Daniel Witmer
Artist: Biography P.Daniel Witmer (b. Maryland, USA. 1971) creates work that attempts to reconcile a deep interest in psychology with a personal, at times troubled, relationship with institutional belief. He creates works that attempt to reveal the disparity between the symbolic significance prescribed to familiar, albeit highly charged objects, and their uncertain physical and ideological efficacy. P.Daniel Witmer was formally introduced to art in his private catholic education, which he attended from the age of five through his early teens–an environment induced with religious iconography, narrative symbolism, and confessional architecture. Ironically, he did very little creatively during this time, but what he was observing daily would reveal itself later in his work. The ritual of participating in church service, and his experience of observing significant forms (altars, paintings, pulpits) from a distance in large open spaces had a lasting impression. This formative exposure combined with the prevalent structures of his rural hometown of Havre de Grace, Md. — churches, wharfs, and funeral homes and boats would inform his aesthetic sensibility of simplicity, directness, and purposive ness of form. He studied psychology in his early college years; he turned his focus entirely to art by his third year of studies. From there on, he acquired an associate’s degree from Harford Community College, Md., and later, graduated from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. with honors. It was here that he met an artist and mentor, William Christenberry, whose insight of Goya, Guston, and southern politics and culture has influenced his work. He is a M.F.A. graduate from the Mount Royal School at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Md. Presently, He is a studio artist and teacher at the School 33 Art Center in Baltimore, Md. Recently, He was a finalist for the Janet & Walter Sondheim prize. He has shown throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.