Billy White at Shrine NYC

images courtesy of the artist and Shrine NYC

Artist Billy White’s second solo show, “This is a Show by Billy,” is now on view at Shrine NYC, after months of postponement due to COVID. White’s portraits, rendered in acrylic on canvas and through ceramic sculpture, are odes to his heroes, icons of popular culture in film, sports, and hip–hop; as well as imagined characters. Elvis, Joe DiMaggio, Mr. T, Eddie Murphy—White’s colorful abstract paintings capture his attentive relationship to these figures, who have influenced his creative identity as a self-taught Black artist. Free from the constraints of an institutionally-guided brush, White paints intuitively and without hesitation. Impressionistic in the truer sense of the word, immediacy, color and feeling take precedence over application and technique. White’s paintings are full of life, vibrant layers of paint and thick, confident lines register from afar.

White has a deep affinity to Van Gogh, feeling that they both overcame adversity; in his childhood, White suffered a traumatic brain injury which led to limited mobility. Commenting on the tradition of posthumous legacies, White observes that recognition in the art world is often reserved for dead artists—Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime.  When asked about what he wanted to title the exhibit, White replied: “Tell them this is a show by Billy, and I’m alive!” White is currently an artist at the NIAD Art Center in Richmond, California, which is an art program for individuals with developmental disabilities. – Lee Phillips

“This is a Show by Billy” is on view at Shrine Gallery until August 2nd, 2020.

Untitled, 2018
Acrylic on canvas
44 x 34 in

Untitled, 2016 Acrylic on canvas
30 x 40 in

Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
24 x 30 in

Untitled, 2019
Glazed and fired ceramic
10.75 x 8.5 x 5.5 in

Untitled, 2019
Acrylic and collage on found canvas 48 x 32 in

Untitled, 2020 Acrylic on canvas
24 x 38 in

Untitled, 2018
Acrylic on canvas
48 x 48 in