Peter White’s work goes far beyond the seeming simplicity of the image. What may at first appear to be an image of a bowl or open book on study becomes an impression of a moving sea or landscape. The energy of the painting, defined by the shifting surface of the paint, elevates the subject into something more powerful, as if containing a life force within it.
His paintings are built up by a meticulous layering process incorporating, acrylic, oil paint, wax and chalk. The surface is scraped back and more layers applied the final image emerging from this process in an almost archaeological way. Peter’s simple forms – empty vessels, open books discarded caps and garments are resonant with metaphor which he insists cannot be pinned down. ‘I prefer not to write about my work’, he explains ‘because they are archetypes not illustrations and the meaning is not specific, influences come from within, it is not just a process of seeing and absorbing’. The paintings allude to history and memory, alchemy and the process of transformation and the palette and texture surely bare reference to the Scottish landscape of his home.
Peter White studied at Edinburgh College of Art and has lived and worked in North-West Scotland for the last twenty years. He has exhibited widely in Scotland and the UK and his work is in many prominent collections including the Fleming Foundation and the Royal Bank of Scotland.