sketch by Mary Whyte

Silver Medal Winner, ForeWord Review's 2011 Art Book of the Year

"Mary Whyte is a consummate watercolor painter. She maintains proficient control of her medium, indeed making it appear effortless, and presents her subjects with dignity and respect. Without ever falling into pathos, she elevates the lifelong calling of outwardly ordinary people to the highest level of fine art."—Jean Stern, executive director, the Irvine Museum, Irvine, California

"In Working South, Mary Whyte shares incredibly moving portraits of southerners who work on the edge—invisible to mainstream America. Through her paintings, sketches, and text, she captures workers like an oyster shucker in Urbanna, Virginia; a boatbuilder in Bayou la Batre, Alabama; and an elevator operator in Jackson, Mississippi. She celebrates and honors their lives in this truly memorable volume."—William R. Ferris, Center for the Study of the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Mary Whyte is a magnificent artist who has mastered watercolor—one of the most difficult of all painting mediums. Here, she shows us phenomenal skill in portraying rural southern life with an empathy that celebrates the spirit of her subjects, their great passion for their work, and their resilience in facing life's hurdles. Her written narratives which accompany these images are as delightful, tender, and moving as the art itself."—Jonathan Green, southern artist

"Something precious and disappearing that is honored by art has increased chances of being preserved—and honored anew. Mary Whyte's magical and elegant paintings and sketches do battle with that great modern two-faced robber: technology."—Clyde Edgerton, southern author and artist

"Working South is not only the title of a recent body of work by Mary Whyte, but also a metaphor for her personal transition from the North to the South. Through her art and sincere personality, she has worked her way into the hearts and minds of southerners, whether natives or recent arrivals. Like the many sitters in her paintings, Whyte is emblematic of a New South, except for the fact that her subjects represent industries that are shrinking, if not disappearing, while her reputation and horizons are ever expanding."—Martha Severens, curator, Greenville County Museum of Art, from the foreword  


Published by the University of South Carolina Press and available through booksellers everywhere.