Douglas Witmer

lives and works in Philadelphia

About Douglas Witmer ... more >

Douglas Witmer (American, born in Winchester, Virginia, in 1971) is an internationally exhibiting artist based in Philadelphia. Witmer completed his BA at Goshen College in Indiana and subsequently graduated with an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2001.

For over two decades, Douglas Witmer has steadily pursued a personal inquiry into the materiality of the painted object, refining his processes within the framework of reductive abstract painting. His elemental compositional structures are activated by sensuous colours and various improvised gestural and incidental actions. His ongoing interest is establishing a visual place that offers someone an open invitation for a personal experience of seeing and feeling.

Compelled by issues of perception in terms of the viewer’s relationship to and connection with art, Douglas Witmer thrives on the very experience of art. Emphasizing elements such as materiality and commodification, Witmer raises essential issues in his dynamic body of work that can launch valuable conversations with his audience. By doing so, Witmer enlivens his work and turns it into a conversation piece for the contemporary generation.

Witmer has said: “In the 21st century, I see my work as offering a clear alternative in a visual culture dominated by speed, layering, and complexity. I do not believe my work requires any prerequisite knowledge beyond what you bring to it. My hope is that it can activate the sense that you simply feel yourself seeing. I like to think of that kind of moment as clear, pure, innocent, and solitary. And if you can get to it, then you have, in a way, started an experiential engine for yourself, and your thoughts can begin to move in uniquely personal directions.”

This speaks to a sense of the artist’s personal history having been raised in the Mennonite culture of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with deep connections to simplicity, peace-making, and humility.

Witmer’s work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions. In 2011 an exhibition spanning ten years of the artist’s work was mounted at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. Other venues include: MoMA PS1, The Curator Gallery, and The Painting Center (all NYC), The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Tiger Strikes Asteroid (Philadelphia), The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Gray Contemporary (Houston), Gebert Contemporary (Santa Fe), The University of Maryland, The University of Dayton, Galerie Mathias Mayr (Austria), ParisCONCRET (France), Sydney Non-Objective (Australia), Sol del Rio Arte Contemporanea (Guatemala City) and Galerie Biesenbach in Cologne. His work is held in the collections of The Woodmere Art Museum, The Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska, and The Fellowship of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, as well as numerous corporate and private collections internationally.

Douglas Witmer’s work has been documented in publications by The Woodmere Museum of Art, The Free Library of Philadelphia, and his exhibitions have been reviewed in The Washington Post, Two Coats of Paint, and Art New England, and other arts periodicals and websites.



born in Winchester, Virginia
1993 B.A., Goshen College, Indiana
Residency Grant, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson
M.F.A., The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
Visiting Artist/Lecture, Goshen College, IN
Juror, Allentown Art Association Juried exhibition, Allentown Art Museum, PA
Artist-in-Residence, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore / Glen Arbor Art Association Glen Arbor, MI
Artist selection committee, 40th Street Artist-in-Residence program, administered by The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Artist-in-Residence/Critic/Lecture, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City
Panelist, Artists in the Marketplace, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York City
Visiting Artist/Critic, University of Dayton, OH
Visiting Artist/Lecture, Goshen College, IN
Thomas P. Johnson Visiting Scholar, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL.
Founder and curator, The Museum of Art and Peace, Philadelphia
Selected as one of nine artists for Philadelphia's inaugural Art CSA program, administered by Tiger Strikes
Asteroid and Grizzly Grizzly artist collectives with funding by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Gallery Committee, University City Arts League, Philadelphia
Panelist, Surface as Signifier, University of Delaware
Panelist, Contemporary Philadelphia Abstraction, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia
Visiting Artist, Professional development program, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Visiting Artist/Lecture, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
Juror, Mercer Artists 2017, Mercer County Community College, West Windsor, NJ
Visiting Artist/Critic, Pennsylvania School of Art and Design, Lancaster, PA
Visiting Artist, Professional development program, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Visiting Critic, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia PA
Lecture, The Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart IN

... more >

Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions

TRIALOGUE – Traces of Form & Colour, Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (G)
Call and Response, Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, IN, USA (S)
Volume Up: artists responding to music and sound, The Painting Center, NY (G)
TWENTY, Minus Space, Brooklyn, NY (G)
Your Silent Face – works by Samantha Haring and Douglas Witmer, Index Gallery, University of Dayton OH (G)
Start Me Up, Galerie Mathias Mayr, Innsbruck, Austria (G)
Galerie Mathias Mayr, Innsbruck, Austria (G)
Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (G)
Galerie Mathias Mayr, Innsbruck, Austria (G)
Wright Gallery, Northport, MI, USA (G)
Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (S, online)
Gray Contemporary, Houston (S)
Galerie Mathias Mayr, Innsbruck (G)
Gray Contemporary, Houston (G)
Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (G)
Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (G)
M17 Contemporary Art, Kiev (G)
Five Walls, Footscray, Australia (G)
Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (G)
Museum St. Wendel, St. Wendel, Germany (G)
Freud Monk Gallery (G, online)
Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia (G)
Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (G)
Hemphill Fine Arts, Washington DC (G)
Westbeth Gallery, New York (G)
Wright Gallery, Northport MI (G)
Tiger Strikes Asteroid Los Angeles (G)
Gebert Contemporary, Santa Fe (G)
Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Los Angeles (G)
Into The Light, exhibition to benefit the Rail Park Philadelphia, curated by Bridgette Mayer, Philadelphia (G)
Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (G)
2017 Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia (S)
Project Room, Gray Contemporary, Houston (G)
Gebert Contemporary, Santa Fe (G)
The Curator Gallery, New York (G)
Gray Contemporary, Houston (G)
Oqbo – raum für bild wort ton, Berlin (G)
2016 Gray Contemporary, Houston (S)
boeckercontemporary, Heidelberg (S)
Aberson Exhibits, Tulsa (G)
Divisible, Dayton, Ohio (G)
IS Projects, Leiden, Niederlande (G)
Institute for American Art, Portland (G)
Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia (G)
SOIL, Seattle (G)
Le Pavé d'Orsay, Paris (G)
The Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln (G)
2015 Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia (S)
Alumni Gallery, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia (S)
Payne Gallery, Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (G)
Zeitgeist Gallery, Nashville (G)
Hemphill Fine Arts / Carroll Square Gallery, Washington DC (G)
Gray Contemporary, Houston (G)
Galleria Sol del Rio, Guatemala City, Guatemala (G)
2014 Gray Contemporary, Houston (G)
Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia (G)
Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia (G)
Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia (G)
ICON Contemporary Art, Brunswick (G)
Parallel Art Space, Ridgewood, New York (G)
Blank Space Art, New York (S)
NIAD Art Center, Richmond (S)
2013 Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia (G)
Rowan University Art Gallery, Glassboro, New Jersey (G)
T.A.S. (Temporary Art Space), Groningen, Netherlands (G)
Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia (G)
international biennial of non-objective art, curated by Roland Orépük, Pont de Claix, France (G)
Key Projects, Ridgewood, New York (G)
TSA, Brooklyn (G)
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (G)
Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia (G)
Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia (G)
6b Gallery, Elingen, Belgium (G)
Parallel Art Space, Brooklyn (G)
The Icebox, Philadelphia (G)
University of Delaware Gallery at Crane Arts, Philadelphia (G)
Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, Chaffey College, Rancho Cucamonga, California (G)
ParisCONCRET, Paris (G)
Marlin Gallery, Camden County College, Blackwood, New Jersey (G)
2012 Kunstlerhaus Dosenfabrik, Hamburg (G)
Studio: Christensen, Philadelphia (G)
University City Arts League, Philadelphia (G)
Sugar, Philadelphia (G)
Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida (S)
AxD Gallery, Philadelphia (S)
2011 Blank Space Art, New York (S)
Some Walls, Oakland (S)
Project Room, The Painting Center, New York (S)
2010 The Philadelphia Cathedral, Philadelphia (S)
Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, Plymouth Congregational (S)
2009 Church, Minneapolis (S)
M55 Art, Long Island City (S)
Gallery Siano, Philadelphia (S)
Red Door Gallery, Richmond (S)
2008 Peng Gallery, Philadelphia (S)
2006 Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana (S)
University City Arts League, Philadelphia (S)
2002 University of Montana-Western, Dillon (S)

Selected Public and Private Collections

  • The Columbus Museum, Columbus GA
  • The Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart IN
  • Sheldon Museum of American Art, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • The Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia
  • The Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
  • The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • The City of Philadelphia
  • Duane Morris, LLP, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Atlanta, Lake Tahoe, San Diego, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Wolf, Block, Schorr, and Solis-Cohen, LLP, Philadelphia
  • NanoSystems, King of Prussia, PA
  • Private collections worldwide




Essential cookies are essential for the operation of the website and can therefore not be deactivated.



Statistics cookies allow the collection of anonymous information about how you use our website. They help us to improve your user experience and our content.


External media

External media cookies allow media content to be loaded from external sources. They can also be activated when you visit the website if you encounter blocked media content.