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 Corporation, and Capital One Corporation. He has exhibited in over twenty states, the District of Columbia, Melbourne, Australia, and Seoul, South Korea. After working in higher education for nearly two decades, Tommy refocused his attention to his professional practice and enjoys working in his studio located in Denver, Colorado.
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 within 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, complex black and white imagery. These disparate elements attempt to develop a sense of harmony and poise. Upon further examination, one can recognize that the environment is slightly off-kilter, positioning the psyche to seek balance. 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 to achieve equilibrium.
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 some cases, a viewer may actually begin to lean slightly as a physiological response.
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, but this activity will allow a dialogue to develop between the two. Further, my intent is that the viewer will then assimilate these ideas in a sort of self-reflective practice (a mandala if you will). By doing this, a new cognizant rationale may develop, allowing the viewer to navigate through his/her everyday environment with fresh insight and balance.
…And the Levee Broke: Meditations on the Power of Water, Mims Gallery, Rocky Mount, NC
The Circular Exhibition, Hun Gallery, NY and Gallery Ho, Seoul, South Korea
Think Small 4, Art6 and ArtSpace Galleries, Richmond, VA
FISHHOUSE, Secret Garden Gallery, Ocracoke Island, NC
Aha! Epiphanies and Breakthroughs, Union Street Gallery, Chicago Heights, IL, Juror: Byron Roche, Owner of Byron Roche Gallery in Chicago
ANJE, 621 Gallery, Tallahassee, FL, Jurors: Roald Nasgaard, FSU Art Dept. and Omar Thomson of Florida A&M Art Dept.
…And the Levee Broke: Meditations on the Power of Water, C3 Gallery, Richmond, VA; Metcalf Gallery at California Baptist University, Riverside, CA; Youth Art Connection Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Newark Gallery, Newark, OH
Big Ideas Invitational, 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA
Think Small 3, Art6 and ArtSpace Galleries, Richmond, VA
Thumbnails, Main Art Gallery, Richmond, VA
Annual Small Works Invitational, 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA
7th Annual National Juried Exhibition, Montpelier Fine Arts Center, Montpelier, VA, Juror: Diego Sanchez, Artist
Indulge, 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA
Think Small 2, ArtSpace Gallery, Richmond, VA
25x25, 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA
Art to Go, 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA
1708 Small Works Invitational, 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA
Eliminate Art, 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA
Think Small, Artspace Gallery, Richmond, VA
The Enduring Landscape, Greater Reston Art Center, Reston, VA, Juror: J.W. Mahoney, Freelance writer and Registrar of the Smithsonian-Hirshhorn Gallery and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.
In Dreams: The New Surrealist, Altamira Galleries, Raleigh, NC
Juried Exhibition 1999, Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Newport News, VA, Juror: Kinshasha Holman Conwill, Director Studio Museum of Harlem
Juried Regional Exhibition, Staunton Augusta Arts Center, Staunton, VA
15th Annual September Competition, Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria, LA, Juror: Eleanor Heartney, Art Curator and Critic, Contributing Editor for Art in America Magazine
Picture This – The Narrative Power of Art, A.C.T. Gallery, Detroit, MI
Southeastern Juried Exhibition (Triennial), Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL Juror: Donald Knaub, Director of the Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art Wichita State University
25th Anniversary Exhibition, Rudolph E. Lee Gallery, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
The Upstate Invitational, Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC
Triennial 95, South Carolina State Museum, Columbia, SC; Traveling Exhibition: Rutledge Gallery, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC; Stanback Museum, South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC; McMaster Gallery, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC; Halsey Gallery, College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina; Rudolph E. Lee Gallery, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina (Juried)
Liquitex Excellence in Art Student Grant Program’s Purchase Award, Recipients Exhibition, American Council for the Arts, New York, NY
Punch Line - Artist Rendered Humor, Galleria Mesa, Mesa, AZ
18th Annual Juried Exhibition, Anderson County Arts Center, Anderson, SC
Artista Vista, Vista Studios Gallery, Columbia, SC
Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL
Capital One Financial Corporation, Richmond, VA
Crayola Corporation, Easton, PA
Markel Corporation, Henderson, NV
Rudolph E. Lee Gallery, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Vista LifeSciences, Inc., Englewood, CO
Anthony Elms, Chief Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia and Co-Curator of 2014 Whitney Biennial
Awards and Honors
Nominee for the Arts Award, Young Audiences, Cleveland, OH
Faculty Development Grant, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH
Faculty Development Grant, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH
Highly Commended, Painting Joint Winner - Small Works 09 Exhibition Brunswick Street Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
Research Council Grant, Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Solo Exhibition Award – Painting National Juried Exhibition, Foundry Arts Centre, St. Charles, MO
“Best of” Selection - ...And the Levee Broke: Meditations on the Power of Water; Mims Gallery, North Carolina Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount, NC
Third in Show - ANJE, All-Media National Juried Exhibition, 621 Gallery, Tallahassee, FL
Third in Show – 7th Annual National Juried Exhibition, Montpelier Fine Arts Center, Montpelier, VA
Museum Purchase Award, Southeastern Juried Exhibition, Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL
Liquitex Excellence in Art Student Grant Program Purchase Award
Second in Show – 18th Annual Juried Exhibition, Anderson County Arts Center, Anderson, SC