The British artist is bringing a selection of his new works to Milan, and four of them have been created purposely for the exhibition: they’re all paintings in black and white that seem to be based on a series of photos used as court evidence, or on a detective’s report.
At first glance in fact, the viewer may mistake them for black and white photos because in his paintings White uses the same effects produced by the photographic technique: simple shadows, softened angles, and the reduced depth of background that are typical of close-up photographs.
James White begins working from a snapshot - perhaps taken somewhat hastily - of some everyday object like a can, or a pair of glasses or headphones. Once these are imposed on birch panels, with one brushstroke after another they take on depth and charm thanks to the contrasts between light and shade, black and white.
In the text of the James White Paintings catalogue, published in 2011 by Murray & Sorrell FUEL with the support of ProjectB, Martin Herbert writes that “The language of objects starts from the theory of a real biography of the object, so an analysis of a culture begins from the goods that it produces. These paintings therefore give the idea of an absent figure, revealed by those objects that have no value in his life but that lead the viewer to wonder what lies behind them.