Reed White – Mankato, Minnesota Artist

Artist Statement

I paint people because I find them challenging, interesting, and overflowing with narrative. I am documenting time, place, society, and how these people fit into it—or at least my interpretation of that. We can all relate to life’s struggles, simple pleasures, emotions, and the aches and pains of aging. My paintings are a way for me to share my perspective of these facets of life. I paint people as I see them, flaws and all. My paintings are not meant to be flattering; my intention is not to please the subject and make a commission, but to create a piece of art and to become a collectible artist.

Stylistically, I have always been detail-oriented but expressive in my brushstrokes. A few of my favorite painters are Van Gogh, Freud, Diebenkorn, de Kooning, Giacometti, and Neel. My background is in illustration, so linework has always been a strength of mine. Like painters Van Gogh or Neel, I use line to define form, but as the paintings progress, the forms might absorb the drawn lines; whatever the case, I don't feel the need to make a stylistic rule.

Historically as a painter, while my subject matter has been somewhat dark, I tend to exaggerate my colors. My last body of paintings lacked something, but I didn’t know what. Ultimately, my goal has been to veer away from stagnant reproductions of photographs. I wondered if a whimsical twist in the drawing might be the solution.

While pushing my boundaries as a artist in Mankato, in recent paintings, I discovered that it was my use of color that I did not like. My previous work would feature black, white, grays, and earth tones to complement or emphasize the brighter colors, like the matting in a frame. Feeling the need to pack as much color into my work as I could, I had always mixed my flesh tones by using brighter pigments. But in my last two paintings, Mutt and Kent, I rediscovered the importance of using earth tones in painting flesh: umbers, ochres, siennas, and warm and cool grays. Mutt was especially revolutionary for me; it’s here where I feel like I found my stride with color. I have returned to my roots as a draftsman, but with a subtler color palette. In my next body of work, I’d like to further explore this softened palette.

Bio of Artist

Mankato Artist Reed White, is a Minnesota artist born in Minneapolis in 1970 and raised in Excelsior Minnesota. White studied fine arts at the University of Minnesota before moving to St. Paul and earning a Bachelor's Degree in Illustration from the College of Visual Arts. White worked as a comercial artist; illustrating, designing, and designing web sites for 20 years in addition to painting and fine art. The desire to teach led White back to school once again to recieve his Master of Arts in painting from Mankato State University in Mankato. Reed currently lives in Mankato with his wife and kids where he works as a web developer, teaches as an Adjunct Professor at Mankato State University, and works on his fine art in Mankato.