Sean Kelly announces The Black Mirror, an exhibition of new paintings by London-based artist James White. The Black Mirror features a selection of White’s haunting monochromatic paintings of the banal detritus of daily life, reimagining the still-life tradition through the lens of a contemporary Pop sensibility.
White’s paintings begin as photographs taken of his immediate environs—his house, studio or hotel rooms—which he then paints on either wood or aluminum panels and encases in Plexiglas boxes. The absence of a human figure tasks the objects in the paintings with suggesting a narrative arc, imbuing them with a sense of mysterious drama—a door that is slightly ajar, a glass of water left on a bathroom sink, a broom leaning against a wall are the only evidence of the presence of a person, perhaps having moments before walked through the picture frame, or lingering just out of sight.
The paintings that comprise The Black Mirror are a study in contrasts: the subject matter is intimate, yet the black and white tonal range creates an objective distance. The paint is applied with great care and skill, laid down seamlessly without evidence of brush strokes, but the edges of the panels, where the paint has bled over, are left raw and unfinished. As a group, White’s work presents a profound, deeply considered perspective from which to view the subjective and private imagery of daily life at one remove, establishing a cool elegance in mundane everyday moments.
James White received his BA from the Wimbledon School of Art in 1989 and his MA from the Royal College of Art in 1991. Recent solo exhibitions include James White: New Paintings, The Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas. Group exhibitions include The Adventure of Reality: International Realism, Kunsthal, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Go for It! Art from the Olbricht Collection, Weserburg Museum of Modern Art, Bremen; and All Tomorrows Pictures, Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London. White was a John Moores 24 prizewinner in 2008 and the subject of a major monograph, James White: Paintings, with essays by Martin Herbert and Jeremy Millar, published in 2011 by FUEL.