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Lead image james white

James White (b. 1967) received his BA from the Wimbledon School of Art in 1989 and his MA from the Royal College of Art in 1991. White began his career as part of a collaborative duo exhibiting large-scale sculpture in the early 1990s, coming to the public’s attention at the same time as his fellow YBAs. After parting ways with his artistic partner in 2001, White turned his attention to painting.

Since the early 2000s, White has worked in monochrome, exploring everyday minutiae. His seemingly quiet domestic environments have a strong psychological element. Working from his own photographs, an ostensibly insignificant detail or moment is prolonged, the act of painting introducing layers of time to a tiny snippet of everyday life. This lends each work an intensity and tension that the artist feels would be missing if the image was to remain as a photographic snapshot. White’s paintings allude to a human presence without depicting any physical being. The resulting effect is a creeping awareness of incidents that might occur beyond the frame, activating the viewer’s imagination.

White’s anonymous style of representational painting appears almost documentary, the objects as the focal point, but not the subject. A bleak scene of opened lockers – unlocked for inspection or otherwise abandoned, forces us to think of their context and the contents they may have held. Up and Down, two glasses on a tray, one positioned upright the other upended, are next to a door resting ajar – who passed through the door, who is drinking from the glass and are they alone? Meanwhile a humorous and playful composition is constructed from an untidy, opened wardrobe in Hangers (home). As Martin Herbert wrote in White’s 2011 publication; ‘…the motive force of these paintings lies not in what’s seen, but in the seeing itself; or, more specifically, in the meeting of the inert thing observed and the live subjectivity, the weather of temperament, which is seen, in White’s painterly dramaturgy, to be involuntarily operant upon it’.

Recent solo exhibitions include: Aspect Ratio, Sean Kelly, New York (2016); From this Position, Gerhardsen Gerner, Oslo (2013); The Black Mirror, Sean Kelly, New York (2013); Cornered, Max Wigram Gallery, London (2012); James White: New Paintings, Max Wigram Gallery, London (2010). Group exhibitions include; NATURE MORTE: Contemporary Artists reinvigorate the Still Life, Ha gamle prestegard, Stavanger (2015); Revealed 2:CollectorSpace, Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide (2013); The Adventure of Reality: International Realism, Kunsthal, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2010); Go for It! Art from the Olbricht Collection, Weserburg Museum of Modern Art, Bremen (2008); and All Tomorrows Pictures, Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London (2007). White was a John Moores 24 prize-winner in 2006 and the subject of a monograph, James White: Paintings, with essays by Martin Herbert and Jeremy Millar, published in 2011. The artist lives and works in London.



Image above:

James White
Glasses (shift)
Oil and varnish on acrylic sheet in Perspex box frame
126 x 141 cm / (49⅝ x 55½ in)