Speaking the visual language

Cassie Pence
Preston Utley/Vail Daily Rich White an abstract artist unrolls one of his art works Wednesday at The Collaborative fine art gallery in Eagle-Vail.

EAGLE-VAIL – Artist Richard White is inspired by Chopin nocturnes. He likes how the music can be still as nothingness and then jar with cacophony.Richard paints with similar polarities. As the artist points out, he uses both empty space and layered bright colors to form an effective composition. “I take a subject matter that has absolutely nothing to do with each other and I make them behave with colors and texture,” said Richard.JJ White, Richard’s brother, paints chaotic crescendo with vibrant, opposite colors. He illustrates decrescendo with complementing tones.

“I’m inspired by color vibration. Colors that vibrate in your eyes or play optical tricks or some that are almost painful to look at,” said JJ.Like Chopin who speaks a language of music, the White brothers are scripting their own visual language with brush strokes and colors on canvas. “Subject matter is for the artist. For the viewer, it is the craftsmanship and a little show and magic. A lot of people think it’s the other way around,” Richard said.”Viewers then develop a language of their own to understand the painting,” added JJ.

The White brothers are the featured artists at the Collaborative Fine Art gallery’s exhibit “Abstract Art and Random Rules.” There is an artists’ reception today from 4-8 p.m., and Saturday the gallery hosts a Q&A with the artists from 4-6 p.m.”Artists today are pouring their own inner universe on to the canvas. It’s a visual stream of consciousness. There are no rules,” Simone Fodde-Crotzer, gallery director, said.The White brothers just arrived from Spain when interviewed Wednesday. They share a studio in the Catalan city of Tarragona. Philadelphia born, the Whites arrived to Spain on very different paths. Richard was trained in art school and JJ studied archeology before painting professionally.Richard refers to his work as Post Pop because of the subject matter he chooses. He developed a process that blends about 50 percent paint with 50 percent digital imagery. The method was inspired in 1999 upon a trip back to the United States. Richard, living in Spain, had yet to see or use the Internet.”I’m creating new art for the new Millennium. I want it to feel different than the past century,” Richard said.

He samples images from all aspects of life, manipulates them on various computer programs and then incorporates layers of paint to create his own language. “There’s nothing original in the world of art. Only a new sense of expression,” Richard said.JJ, born Jeffrey, calls his work Post Abstract Expressionism, but he doesn’t like to define it too much because it’s always changing. He uses bold acrylic and oil colors with mixed media, like found objects or paper from travels, to create collage works. JJ is playful with depth of field, making it almost a game for viewers to determine what icon is in front of the other.”I try not to be too descriptive. We know what reality is like, we want to create a different reality. With abstract art, we’re taking the viewer to a place they can’t get to. We’re breathing air that they can’t breath,” said JJ.

For more information on “Abstract Art and Random Rules,” call 949-4ART.Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or cpence@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism