the village gallery & Studio

QUOTES ABOUT BILL WHITE’S PAINTINGS

“Bill White, of Roanoke, is one of Virginia’s finest colorists. He composes melodious colors that become the visual equivalent of jazz. They have their own energy waves and surprising innovations.”

Ruth Latter, Art Columnist, The Daily Progress, Lifestyles section, Charlottesville, VA

“Two of White’s still lives, with horn and trumpet, sing with bright color and sonorous shadows. When viewed at a distance, the raking light models realistic objects with a feeling of three dimensions. Seen close up, the light creates intriguing abstractions between objects and surface reflections. The internal activity of White’s paintings is created with weighted shadows and subtle geometric forms that, paradoxically, also are the things that stabilize the activity.”


Ann Weinstein, Art Columnist the Roanoke Times, Roanoke, VA   

“Given his drawing and technical skills White has achieved the essence of everyday objects in all of their dignity such objects can muster. A weighty ceramic pitcher, fragile glass vases, tinfoil, plump pears, colored plastic tumblers, and a delicate-leafed money plant are some of the objects that come to life under the glow of the intense incandescent spotlight. Cast shadows and reflected lighting, utilized throughout, add to the drama. Spatial depth, although limited, is conveyed with consistent success. The imagery is busy with all of the elements.

Yet, because the colors are pure, the end result is never muddy. By and large, even the areas in shadow are pure color.”

Karen Tonogbanua, Art Reviewer, The Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg, VA

“White’s Figure in a Stream is an Arcadian vision of a nude woman sitting peacefully among some large rocks. White has depicted the woman with the same broad strokes and controlled tonalities as the other elements of the landscape, suggesting the she is in absolute harmony with nature.”

Mark Scala, Chief Curator, the Art Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke VA. “Of Darkness & Light: Contemporary Landscape Paintings”

“Painters like William White move easily from direct, outdoor painting to studies of interiors with figures. White’s saturated color and painterly construction, like Nell Blaine’s, are informed by abstract tendencies in modern art, yet his studies of color and geometry also record an immediate response to his surroundings.”

Hearne Pardee, Essay for the exhibition - Contemporary Virginia Realism, Curated by Sarah Sargent at the Second Street Gallery, Charlottesville VA

“Instead of the human figure, White makes light as important as any of the objects in his luminous interior paintings. In “Window Still Life #6 and #13, light moves through the window blinds with the palpable force of a living presence and is reflected on an edge of a purple table, only to be absorbed into the green leaves of a lush plant. Light is even more forceful in its domination of the beautiful “Blue Door” painting. As a golden glow on the floor, this light exudes such a confident suggestion of movement that the viewer expects it to get up and dance.”

Martha Mabey, Special Correspondent of the Richmond Times Dispatch, Richmond VA.  March 28, 1997. Review of the exhibition at the Cudahy’s Gallery show “Painting the Interior Landscape” with Valery Hardy

“Roanoke artist, William White, who paints landscapes with alluring colors and a kind of explosive yet varied and subtle brushwork which transforms objects into expressive shapes. His Pink Creek appears as if it might have been painted at almost any time or place in the 20th Century. It is an actual site near Roanoke that White sketched on location, on a summer afternoon when the sunlight and deep shadows of the setting evoked an ‘air of mystery’ and made the trees seem almost to gesture. White calls himself a “realist painter” because his scenes are entirely derived from nature. As a ‘realist’ he strives to ‘simply stress what I see’. To do that, he utilizes techniques and philosophies of the early Expressionists and their precursors.”

“ White is one of too few artists in Virginia today who understand the expressive potential of oil paint, the appeal of its ‘luscious visual and tactile quality’, and how to manipulate it to build up the surface of the canvas; in his hands unmixed, vibrant color is a sensuous material that can convey feelings. He tries to paint with innocence and sincerity.”

The Virginia Landscape: A Cultural History. By James C. Kelly and William M. S. Rasmussen, Curators at the Virginia Historical Society, Richmond VA

“Bill White is a consummate artist whose paintings imply monumentality, regardless of their actual size. It’s all about the studio coupled with the plein-air experience, the physicality of the paint and the act of painting. In every nuance, his exhibited works emphasizes these core values and echo his genuine awareness of life.”

“Color is a major agent in White’s pictorial arsenal. In his paintings, color functions as an intrinsically powerful structure; it is a conduit uniting other principle elements—scale, light, space and the fixed moment.”

“White leads the pack of artists who understands yet chooses to forgo the modernist traditions of non-objective abstraction. Focusing his aesthetic strategy and values of contemporary painting by working from life, White’s work becomes autobiographical in nature and embraces the personality of our time.”

“Unlike photo-derived work, White’s paintings eschew artifice and he builds form from actuality. His presence is integral to their making.”

Bill White: The art of the real - By Amy Moorefield, Director of the E. D. Wilson Museum, Hollins University, Roanoke, VA

” White’s oeuvre consists of interiors, sometimes with still lives and figures, landscapes, and more recently, urban rooftop landscapes of Paris and Roanoke, Virginia.  White situates himself in terms of a “family tree” of art historical heroes that includes Corot, Vuillard, Porter, Nell Blaine and Gretna Campbell.”

“White’s paintings are exuberant and expansive in their color, light, and abundance of form and life.  However, they have a naturalism and softness that comes from the resistance to stylize or rigidly define form. He refuses the easy route – which would be to generalize or allow a “signature style” to
dominate.  Instead, the emphasis is on the translation of perceptual experience and the commitment to see and know the subject more deeply.”

“Although his works have a richness of form and visual patterning, the paintings are often about what White excludes.  He frequently fragments and crops his views.  The absence of something creates the empathic sense of a one-time presence.”

“In the Rooftop paintings, on the other hand, we see only the tops of buildings and skies.   White began making rooftop paintings on a fellowship in Paris in 2010, and continued the practice when he returned to Roanoke. They have a grand orchestration of color and light, and a unity achieved with a touch is never heavy-handed.  In motif and style, they reflect a love of French painting from Corot to Guillaumin to Cézanne.”

“Louis Finkelstein, painter and writer believed visual art could capture a synthesis of time: past, present, and future, within one image, and felt that painterly elements specifically call attention to this possibility.  White’s paintings, indeed, achieve their power and meaning this way: the emotional and visual engagement with the subject, the scope and limitations of the vistas, the presences and absences, and the temperate touch, which is open yet never preconceived.” 

Bill White: Empathy and Engagement – Essay for Wilson Museum Exhibition Catalog 2011
By Jennifer Samet, PhD., Curator and Essayist on Contemporary Art

“William G. White, from Roanoke, also uses a high key palette to describe the objects in his still life of 1991, Godiva I. White chose jewel-like aqua blues next to equally vibrant oranges to jar the eye, and perhaps reawaken the mind. A drapery of vines and flowers, a fabric often seen in still –life paintings of Henri Matisse, is introduced in the background. The soft, almost tender, handling of this backdrop sharply contrasts with the hard, cold objects in the foreground, in particular the gold foil box of chocolates.”

“White is a realist artist of great intellectual rigor. His choice of jars, glasses, a paper bag, and dried flowers in this painting is not at random, nor is their placement. What is highly compelling is the spaces, the interstices between the objects. Here one sees complexity of form calculated to appear serendipitous.  A serenity of order lies just below the blaring pigments on the painting surface.”

Seeking Creative Order, Essay for the Catalog of the Virginia State Bar Art Collection. By Ruth Stevens Appelhof, PhD., Director, Art Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke, VA

“In Bill White’s luminous, spare arrangement of fruits on a diaphanous table, the glass is centered and pivotal, delicately picking up the yellow light from the window.”

Facets of Perception - Travelling exhibition 2006-2007 by Zeuxis, An Association of Still Life Painters’ Catalogue Essay by Martica Sawin, PhD., and Curator and Author on Artists


"There’s a lot of knowledge in these paintings. They hover between reality and abstraction. He purposely creates angles and perspectives that make the viewer feel like an occupant of the room.”

“Instead of using a warm earth red for a focal point, White uses a cool color. He makes it come forward by using high intensity. Usually, cool colors recede and warm come forward.”

Chica Tenney, Professor Emerita, Piedmont Virginia Community College, Charlottesville VA


“As I said before, the searching process always makes your work a joy to look at because not only is it good, there is always something different in the approach. I am interested in your rapid response to the forms; not giving yourself time to second guess what you did, rather moving to another response based on what is already done. It moves painting to an almost athletic activity, where the training is internalized and now it is simply time to perform.”

Steven A. Moore, Painter, March 14, 1999 (from a letter following a studio visit)