In 2010, Mary Whyte set out to paint 50 large-scale watercolor portraits of current day American military veterans of all ages and walks of life — one from every state. The resulting series, ‘WE THE PEOPLE: Portraits of Veterans in America,’ includes a Missouri dairy farmer, Rhode Island lobsterman, Pennsylvania science teacher, and South Carolina single mother, and 46 others.
“When I undertook this project to paint the face of America, what began as an exercise to create 50 portraits turned into an all-consuming mission to uphold and honor the hidden heroes of our country,” says Whyte. “ ‘We the People’ is not only a tour across and through these vast United States, it is a tour through the heart and soul, the duty and the commitment of the people who protect not only our Constitution and our country but our very lives. We can only be deeply grateful, inspired, and humbled by all of them, and it’s my hope that ‘We the People’ gives rise to a greater sense of gratitude for our military, as well as to inspire people to reach for what is possible.”
The exhibition will launch with a weekend of festivities from October 25 – 27, 2019, in Charleston, South Carolina. The fifty portraits will be on display at the City Gallery through December 22, 2019. The gala weekend, which will include the veterans depicted in the paintings as special guests, will also feature a brunch for 400 on the USS Yorktown and two premiere concerts with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra , performing original world premiere works created specifically to honor veterans and celebrate the portraits. In addition, there will be an accompanying art book from The University of South Carolina Press which will be released in conjunction with the exhibit.
About Mary Whyte
Mary Whyte is an artist and author whose watercolor paintings have earned international recognition. Her works have been exhibited nationally as well as in China and have been featured in numerous publications stateside and in France, Germany, Russia, Canada, China, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan. Whyte is the author of two books published by The University of South Carolina Press — Working South: Paintings and Sketches by Mary Whyte and Down Bohicket Road: An Artist’s Journey. She is also the author of Alfreda’s World, Painting Portraits and Figures in Watercolor, An Artist’s Way of Seeing, and Watercolor for the Serious Beginner.
Whyte is the recipient of the Portrait Society of America’s Gold Medal and the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award, South Carolina’s highest honor in the arts.