Born in 1978 in the United States of America, R. Sawan White started her career in England as a classically trained printmaker and painter. Her academic career began as a Provost Scholar at Virginia Commonwealth University; she then transferred to Loughborough University School of Art and Design graduating with a First Degree BA Honors in Printmaking in 2000. Her work has exhibited all over the world including New York City, London, Taiwan, New Zealand, Washington DC and Richmond, VA. Paintings by White can be found in private, corporate and academic collections throughout the world. Along with creating, White has spent the last 20 years lecturing and leading seminars on contemporary aesthetics, and art history and practice. She was a founding faculty member at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and guest speaker at numerous galleries, museums, universities and art leagues. She currently lives and works in New England.

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Artist Statement

For over 20 years my work has explored the unseen connections, languages and relationships that form daily life. Everyday I relate, respond, and intertwine with the world around me, often incongruently as I am seen and labeled by it. I see these interactions as overlapping layers; as connecting lines and forms. They build upon each other, creating a life made up of days and minutes and years of things that cannot be seen but foundationally define who I am, whether in my eyes or others. My work turns these into layers of texture and color interplaying with one another – hiding and exposing. As an artist I view creating as a spiritual practice, a mode of seeking deeper understanding of things we can’t quite reach. Much of art history concerns itself with our fundamental understanding of the sublime, sometimes in abstracted and conceptual ways and sometimes in the capturing and rendering of unfettered realism. I find that art, both in its creation and absorption, can reconcile us to parts of who we are that have been mislaid and forgotten in this tired world.

It is within this framework that I have burrowed into my career as an artist. I seek to expose and explore the unseen that surrounds us, whether emotional, spiritual or otherwise. Throughout my work bits of misappropriated conversation and misunderstood semantics challenge the use of language as the primary form of communication and force the examination of concept apart from word. Through texture, line, and color I layer narrative and metaphor. The language of my paintings has built into a vocabulary of form over the years, utilizing the narrative and the obscure in tandem. My work ranges in size and medium as conceptually necessary moving from pocket-size to wall-size fluidly.

My current direction examines the delicate relationship between the individual and the cultural systems that surround and entangle common living. The paintings are built of layers of forms and colors, interplaying with one another and sometimes completely overshadowing each other. The resulting struggles are muted, subdued and tempered, with much of the movement happening just below the surface. Within the work vibrant colors push back against the surface. They float in and out of the composition mirroring our interactions with our own surroundings. The pieces explore the nature of how we relate to the overlay of cultural norms and expectations that cushion our small daily behaviors. The forms and lines cannot be extracted from their surroundings; they are embedded and while at times affect the systems which encompass them, they are also subject to them.

Solo Exhibitions

2020 Object Lessons for the Tired, The Eric Schindler Gallery, Richmond, VA
2019 R. Sawan White, 嘉俬房 & other Art things, Taipei, Taiwan
2018 The Common Quiet, The Eric Schindler Gallery, Richmond, VA
2016 Silent Things, The Eric Schindler Gallery, Richmond, VA
2015 one thousand strengths, The Eric Schindler Gallery, Richmond, VA
2013 I live with others, The Eric Schindler Gallery, Richmond, VA
2011 The Art of Gift Giving, The Eric Schindler Gallery, Richmond, VA
2009 Our parting words, we are all beggars, The Eric Schindler Gallery, Richmond, VA
2009 people are always falling asleep, The Art Gallery at UCC, Roseburg, OR
2008 how to enter a room, Eric Schindler Gallery, Richmond, VA
2006 tell me you, Eric Schindler Gallery, Richmond, VA
2005 Recent Work, R. Sawan White, Mangia Qui, Harrisburg, PA
For Doing, For Being, The Eric Schindler Gallery, Richmond, VA
2004 Entries, Artspace Gallery, Richmond, VA
2003 R. Sawan White, The Tenth Muse, Harrisburg, PA
Recent Paintings, Shockoe Bottom Arts Center(SBAC), Richmond, VA
2002 Close. Artspace Gallery, Richmond, VA
2001 East Tobacco Gallery, SBAC, Richmond, VA
2000 Degree Show, Loughborough University School of Art and Design , United Kingdom

Selected Other Exhibitions

Alive, Atelier Studio Gallery, Nelson New Zealand, July 2021
Art Tainan 2021, Tainan Taiwan, 2021
Gallery Night Exhibition, Providence, RI
Art Design Style Richmond, 2019,
The Highpoint Gallery, Richmond VA
Art Taipei 2018,丁丁艺术空间, Taipei, Taiwan
Visiting Artists, Moberg Gallery, Des Moines, Iowa
Thinksmall 5, Artspace & art6 Galleries, Richmond, VA
Whitaker Ten Year Retrospective, Whitaker Center, PA
R Sawan White and Dale Jarrett, Blue Gallery, Kansas City, MO
ART180 Benefit, Eric Schindler Gallery, Richmond, VA
Reveal/Conceal, artspace gallery, Raleigh, NC
Art to Go Invitational, Cornerstone Gallery, Richmond, VA
Thinksmall 3, art6 and Artspace Galleries, Richmond, VA
5th Anniversary Exhibition, Blue Gallery, Kansas City, MO
Mutability and Metaphor, Agora Gallery, New York, NY
art6x6, Curator and Exhibitor, art6 Gallery, Richmond, VA
16th Annual Harrisburg Gallery Walk, Harrisburg, PA
art6 Members Exhibition, art6 Gallery, Richmond, VA
Artist Collect Too 2, art6 Gallery, Richmond, VA
International Miniature Invitational, Artspace Gallery, Rich, VA
Beyond Reading, Ellipse Art Center, Washington D.C.
Getluckywithanemergingartist, HEREart Gallery, New York, NY
R. Sawan White, Whitaker Center, Harrisburg, PA
Art for Gifts, Staunton Augusta Art Center, Staunton, VA
The Writing on the Wall, Sara D. November Gallery, JCC, RVA
Two Etchers, Old World Prints Gallery, Richmond, VA
Annual Members Show, SBAC, Richmond, VA
Artists Collect, Too, Artspace Gallery, Richmond, VA
The National Print Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London, UK
Premiere Exhibition of The University Gallery at Loughborough          University, United Kingdom
Derby City Open, Derby Museum, Derby, United Kingdom
Second Impressions, Fine Art Gallery, Loughborough University, United Kingdom