Acoustic paintings

Tim White, detail from “Violin,” oil on canvas, 2004.

Tim White, detail from “Violin,” oil on canvas, 2004.

The guy who normally writes about art for SN&R, Tim White, called a few issues back and asked for some time off from covering the art beat—personal reasons, as he put it, and under the circumstances, quite justified. When White isn’t writing or playing in one of the several bands he performs with, he likes to paint. We’ve been a fan of his still-lifes for quite a while, and now that White is part of a group show at Elliott Fouts Gallery (which moved in July from Granite Bay to 4749 J Street in East Sacramento), we can express that appreciation openly.

Unique Visions features White and four other artists, each of them working within the parameters of a chosen theme. Sandy Delehanty chose “candy,” Susan Hoehn “Northern California vineyards,” Sondra Olson “figures” and Victoria Ryan “landscape.” White’s theme is “music.”

Many of White’s oil paintings, with their use of warm, resonant colors and almost photorealistic depiction of music-related objects, appear to be touched with a sepia tint that makes them look like old daguerreotypes. “RCA Type 77,” for example, would not look out of place on the cover of a boxed-set CD reissue of 78-rpm recordings. Others—a series of paintings that depict various facets of a violin, along with a similar partial rendering of a Martin acoustic guitar—manage to evoke White’s chosen theme through the way he imagines light playing off the deep woods of his subject matter. One can almost hear the sound generated by vibrating steel or gut strings amplified by a wooden chamber.

“Columbia Records” is a variation of a recurring motif of White’s: a segment of a phonograph turntable, with tone arm. Here, the red Columbia label bursts through the sepia field. A similar painting, featuring the 1860s black and rainbow-hued Decca label, appeared on the cover of an album by Baby Grand, a band that features White and his partner, Gerri Ranta.

A couple of White’s other paintings break form: “Ella” depicts a woman’s head staring into space from right rear-quarter, and “Banana I” is just that—a banana, floating in space, its stem like a duck’s bill.

If you like what White writes in SN&R, here’s your chance to see what he does with a canvas.