Tommy White, born in Detroit, received his M.F.A. from Clemson University in the discipline of painting and a B.A. from Michigan State University in ceramics. His work is included in many private collections as well as the permanent collections of the Mobile Museum of Art in Alabama, Crayola LCC, Markel Corp, and Capital One Corporation. He has exhibited in over 23 states, the District of Columbia, Australia, and South Korea. In 2014 he relocated to Denver, Colorado after a career in higher education to focus full-time on his studio practice.
My painting is more about your seeing than it is about my seeing. Though I’ve created the artwork, the information at hand relates to how each one of us goes about navigating through our contingent world.
Metaphorically, my paintings explore relationships between environment, psyche, and one’s ability to rationalize. Environment is characterized by any tangible force affecting an individual’s physical and/or conscious/unconscious self. The monochromatic fields and grids depict this. Psyche is represented by the lyrically ornate, amalgamated black and white imagery. These disparate elements attempt to develop a sense of harmony and poise. Upon further examination, one recognizes that the environment is slightly off-kilter, positioning the psyche to seek equilibrium. By amassing and manipulating accessories of value (perceived or actual), a psychological and rational remedy is sought. This might resemble the positioning weights on a scale … or how children of different sizes maneuver on a teeter-totter.
Formally, my investigations focus on three primary concerns: subtleties of color, visual activity, and pareidolia (psychically charged imagery). I attempt to optically animate each composition by combining these elements pictorially. This effect varies from piece to piece, ranging from readily apparent to something quite subtle.
In the end, my paintings function visually from a distance as well as up close. Each piece should be observed for a period of time, allowing for both the “psyche” and “environment” time to become dominant against the other. This might take a bit of effort by the viewer, but this activity will allow a dialogue to develop between the two. Further, my intent is that viewer will then assimilate these ideas in a sort of self-reflective practice. Allowing for a new rationale to develop so that he/she may navigate within our contingent world with fresh insight and balance.