Dead Reckoning I

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Whitten alludes to two separate yet similarly dire situations with the title of this piece, Dead Reckoning 1, both of which are based on his own personal background. One form of a “dead reckoning” is the moment when a person sails out into the ocean so far that they can no longer tell where land is and is subsequently lost at sea. This allusion draws on Whitten’s long-standing admiration for the ocean, in which he spends at much time as possible, particularly during his lengthy trips to the island of Crete in Greece. The second form of a “dead reckoning” Whitten references his time in the ROTC. The term is used to when a pilot is forced to make quick life-or-death decision while in-flight. How does this painting represent a mode of survival?