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James White in #StaffPicksSaturday

Samantha Le Page, Accountant, has chosen James White’s painting, A False Sense of Security, 2014 for #StaffPicksSaturday.

I began working at Sean Kelly Gallery five years ago this month. When I started, my background was primarily in theatre and cinema. One work that I was particularly impressed with was, what I presumed to be, a large black and white photograph. I found myself looking at it each day. I have always enjoyed photography and have several black and white prints in my own home.

In early 2016, the gallery had an exhibition of new works by the artist James White. Before each exhibition opens, the staff does a walk-through of the show with the artist. It was then that I learned that White takes a snapshot and subsequently paints the image in oil on panel. I was even more impressed when I realized that the “photograph” I had always admired was actually a painting of a photograph!

There is a cinematic quality to James’s work that reminds me of film noir. As in his painting Broken, 2019, I wondered what happened just outside the frame. A lover’s quarrel or an act of anger and frustration? His work compels the viewer to want to know more.

I have now been in confinement for over four months. Two of James’s works seem very relevant to me in these strange times. Whiskey, 2014 could be a photo of my sink at any given time, and his work, A False Sense of Security, 2014 represents my chain lock exactly. At the end of each day, as I put the chain on the door for the evening, I sigh “ah sanctuary.”

@jameswhitestudio, A False Sense of Security, 2014, oil and varnish on birch ply panel in Perspex box frame, framed: 12 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 1 15/16 inches

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