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White’s hand carved paper scenes honor the gravity and importance of marking time and bearing witness to a past world. The work embraces a secret and hushed worship of the seasons and seasonal change. One is invited to live wholly and gracefully in the present while glimpsing scenes and visions of the past. One can imagine that this past is with us now, comforting us with the continuity and solidity of time.
White is moved by the idea of ancestral memory and the power that scenes and images of the past can hold over us. Fascinated by how the idea of an idea [ancestral memory] can influence behavior and emotion, the possibility of ancestral memory, be in false scientific theory or not, has the ability to encourage mind associations and patterns that may mimic our conception of what ancestral memory is, thereby providing peace and comfort. In the easy alienation and disassociation of the modern technologically dependent world, an idea of a link with communities of the past can provide friendship and safety and a surcease of loneliness in the present. With my work I hope to encourage emotional and mental associations with a distant or imaginary past in the viewer and in this way bring peace and safety.
I come from a family of visual storytellers. I have always believed that our vision is as important as our hearing when we communicate. Very rarely do we rely on words alone. It is what we see, and how our brains interpret what we see that shapes our perceptions and actions. I began cutting paper with that understanding. I want my art to communicate to the observer what my words cannot do effectively.
When I was a child I thought a great deal about hidden spaces. The intimacy, the hushed secrecy – I was always looking underneath objects, or through them. I have always believed that if you look hard enough, you will see something precious and new, or, perhaps, something incredibly ancient and sacred.
When I cut paper, I feel as if I am peeling back the outer, superficial layer of our vision to reveal the secret space beneath. With paper cutting there are so many opportunities to create negative space that tells its own story. Letting the observer become present in the piece allows him or her to look through it. I like the idea of the stark contrast between the black and white paper, and the cut nature of the work makes my art more three-dimensional than paint on canvas.
I have great respect for paper. When I cut, the thin membranous material reveals its strength to me. No matter how small my cuts the paper holds. There is a certain comfort in that, a comfort I enjoy. I feel that there are very few things in the world as reliable and constant as paper. Paper is everywhere and it has been telling stories for centuries. By respecting and honoring paper for what it is, and not considering it a stepping-stone to something greater, I feel like I am communicating some of the pleasure it brings to me. I am not creating for Art’s sake. I am creating for Paper’s sake, to make visible the stories that every piece of paper attempts to communicate to us.