Opening Reception: Thursday, July 18. 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Free
American Prosperity is a series of evocative, one of a kind mixed media panels exploring stumbled upon abandoned places and the themes of unknown stories, abandonment, our sense of place, and the question of where we are as a society. The pieces are made using photographic images combined with a variety of materials, including paint on wood or canvas, cast concrete, charcoal, stains and pastels. The resulting panels enlarge the mood evoked by the image and expand on the memories of being in the place where the image was captured.
Initially, the impetus for this project was my attraction to the dark moodiness of the abandoned buildings in the images, and the desire to expand the feelings they evoked for me during my brief visit. When I am passing through a place and happen upon an interesting building without knowing its history, questions occur to me about its past: Who lived or worked here? Why did they leave? Is this a sad story, or one of better opportunity, or maybe neither?
Moving beyond the sort of obvious questions, as I worked deeper into the series, I began to think about our sense of place and how we identify with where we live and work, and create an environment that is unique to each of us and an extension of ourselves. After working on this project for a while, and pondering what continued to drive it, I began to think about how we abandon places, situations and other people for a variety of reasons.
In my case, I had seen possibilities that were attractive to me and moved away from the place I was born and raised and all that it held for me - family, friends, a promising long term job, a cool place to live - for the chance at a new start and a new adventure across the country in an amazing place with a woman I was absolutely smitten with. This was perhaps the best choice I have ever made, yet it did come with some bitter parts to temper the sweet. Having built a life and family in a new place, which all these years later is as familiar, easy and as much home as any place has ever been for me, I have to wonder if my son will have the urge to make a new start somewhere else, and what his motivations might be for doing so.
I’ve also been thinking about these places in a metaphorical sense, and wondering about a different sort of abandonment. It’s more of a societal abandonment, an abdication of some basic things that has left our collective house in ill repair. Things like community, connection with other people and the planet, a willingness to help out without compensation or recognition, a sense of compassion and empathy, and a desire to do the right thing rather than the easy thing. While one could see this as a complete bummer, I see us as being at a crossroads where we can each choose how we will proceed. I find hope in that.
Timothy White is a mixed media artist who comes from a background in fine furniture making. Tim’s diverse background began with a childhood full of art … painting, drawing, music making and building things in the basement with whatever was handy, sometimes to his father’s dismay. His career highlights include eight years building museum quality contemporary furniture with Richard Scott Newman, and many years of making sculptural furniture and sculpture on his own, as well as graphic design and photography work with Alison White Photography. Over time, and with the influences of many experiences, Tim’s work has evolved into the mixed media art he makes today. A recovering perfectionist, Tim now embraces a more wabi-sabi outlook on life and work. Originally from Buffalo, NY, he has lived in Crested Butte, CO since 1996. Outside of work, Tim spends his time with his wife and son playing in the mountains around his home. He enjoys music, art, skiing and biking, among other things.
Visit Timothy White's website.