Abstract painter Sallie White the focus of new exhibit at Center for Visual Artists

A new exhibition at the Center for Visual Artists shines the spotlight on Greensboro abstract painter Sallie White, with a 38-painting show of the artist’s work. The exhibition, titled “Extractions: A Solo Exhibition by Sallie White,” debuts Friday evening with an opening reception.
Last year, White took part in a group exhibition at the Center for Visual Artists, and the event’s judges selected her for a solo show in 2017. Since then, she’s put in long hours getting ready for Friday’s opening.
White describes herself as a lifelong artist, going back to her childhood.
“I studied art in high school and college. Like a lot of artists, I wanted to paint, but I learned to parlay my artistic skills into a variety of careers because you also have to make a living,” she said.
White found a successful career in interior design. But while she said she enjoys that work, she wanted to make painting her focus, and a few years back, that’s what she did.
“I’ve always enjoyed starting with nothing and creating something,” White said.
She describes her approach to her work as painting, scraping, painting over and repeating.
“It’s really adding and subtracting until I’ve got something that feels honest,” she said, adding that she doesn’t start a painting with a preconceived idea of what image she wants to depict. Instead, White said she approaches painting with a mood in mind. Once she starts, she keeps working at the canvas until she feels it reflects the appropriate mood.
 “I don’t know I’m there until I’m there,” she said. “Even if I love something on a canvas, I love covering it up (if it doesn’t work).”
Although all of her work in the exhibition can be described as abstract, the show will include a floral series that contains more realistic elements than most of her other paintings. She also will exhibit works she did for a street art show in Atlanta that contain grittier, graffiti-style aspects.
White grew up in a military family and as a child, her family moved frequently. So change and starting over are things she feels comfortable with and even welcomes as an artist.

“Under most of these paintings are the ghosts of a lot of other paintings,” she said.