Is the negative space being used to amplify the images or is it the other way around? Richard White is a Hackney based figurative painter and illustrator who never ceases to impress us with his paintings. First studying Illustration and then Portraiture, in his practice he combines both of his talents and practices in a captivating way.
What we enjoy the most is the combination of highly detailed form and motion images with blanks; his intention being revealed by him as “… deliberately limiting the information presented, inviting the viewer to fill in the gaps.”
Working prominently in portrait and offering a storyline with a limited focus of 2 or 3 major elements; he makes what could otherwise feel dated so fresh and interesting. We really liked his description of his themes as an exploration of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments of human interactions, micro-expressions and concealed emotions; that’s exactly what makes his figurative works contemporary and feels like they are speaking to us from different dimensions. He describes his style as a balance between abstract and realism, which to us, is also supporting that dream-like quality.
While looking at one of his paintings, you want to know the Who, What, When, Where, and Why; you want more information because you become emotionally invested but you were given only a fragment of the narrative. In this way, his works remind us of Francis Bacon’s paintings, in which the subjects feel like they are merely passing through the canvas. White is blurring the lines of complete and incomplete, creating a scene that evokes different meanings to each viewer. He also builds the paintings in layers to show a progression, “The picture is built up in layers and I choose when and where to add detail and where to leave areas more sparse. I want to show the progression of the painting. Which leaves you with the challenge of when is the painting finished?”
What do you think of his works? Let us know in the comments below.
Words by Damla Bozoglu