March 22 - May 11, 2014
The romantic view of the artist is that of a tormented soul driven on a solitary pursuit, toiling away alone, while their creations go neglected or misunderstood by others. One instantly thinks of Vincent van Gogh’s poverty and madness or Paul Cézanne traipsing about Provence muttering to himself with canvas under arm. But this need not be the case as the companionship and mutual support between artists Julia White and Steven White attests.
Having met while studying art at Queens University, their individual art practices are at the very core of their relationship, so that now they share not only their lives, but a studio as well. This shared space, as well as values, provides them each with the freedom to pursue their own unique paths and styles, while certain elements silently and gently cross-pollinate what the other is doing. Their roots share a common soil, so that the diversity which blossoms forth remains cohesive like the flora of any given biosphere.
Julia White’s installation, Forest of Columns, comprises a selection from her continually evolving collection of light sculptures. In her own words these luminous columns are “woven out of steel, textiles, vines, cordage and twines. The surface of each column is like an outer skin that, when illuminated, reveals an intricate array of networks like the patterns of root systems, tree branches and vines, as well as the neural and arterial pathways of the human body.” Their gently pulsing lucency recalling the quiet breath of the forest, the throbbing of the heart, the rise of sap in the trees and the course of blood through one’s own veins.
Integrating as it does the collage sensibility of Robert Rauschenberg with the rusted grace of the objects found in an abandoned barn, Steven White’s work on the other hand could be referred to as “rustic Pop.” Combining printed images, wooden surfaces weathered with paint, together with found and constructed objects, his wall pieces possess a warmth and familiarity, and give one the sense of having endured the ravages of time, use and the very elements of nature.
Yet as different as Steven and Julia’s artwork is from the other’s, seen together one can’t help but sense that they spring from a common ground, their roots and branches entwining to create an organic whole.
- Michael Tweed
Julia White and Steven White both hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queen’s University in Kingston. Steven White’s work was shown in solo and group exhibitions in Canada and the USA, and received media attention from the Toronto Star, Canadian Art, CBC Radio, amongst others. His work can be found in many private and corporate collections such as Bank of Montreal, Sun Life Insurance and National Bank of Canada. Julia White has exhibited her work in Ontario, BC and the USA. Her Forest of Columns has been shown in varying configurations, most recently at the Interior Design show in Toronto, January 2014.