In the early 1990’s, sometime before making his acquaintance, I noticed a series of watercolours exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London. I remember being struck by the Fauve-like exuberance of colour and the original, forceful use of the technique. First impressions are often deceiving, but my appetite wetted, I became familiar with other aspects of his work.
Michael B White is a fine draughtsman with a keen sense of design. He has an appetite for experiment, exemplified in his watercolours, gouaches, drawings and etchings.
I was not disappointed when I finally met Michael B White. The exuberance and vitality of his work is carried on into his lifestyle. He pursues work and play with energy and dedication and perhaps most importantly, a never failing sense of humour. He is a gifted artist and I enjoy his work enormously.
Royal Academy of Arts, London
Through his almost casual mastery of watercolour technique. Michael B White builds with gusto his exotic, saturated and glowing colour to produce a dazzling meld of pattern and subject.
His images may be handled straight-laced, straight-faced, ironic, quietly mocking or with paradox, but whatever the mood, the spectator is always drawn in and perhaps a little seduced by the blazing, chuckling humanity of it all.
Michael B White is an artist of serious intent who prefers to celebrate life in passing. Not with black clouds and thunderous messages but with fanfares of colour and cornucopias of optimism.
Royal Academy of Arts, London
Michael B. White is one of those rare artists whose style is
instantly recognisable. Whether painting on a large scale in
watercolour, drawing or making prints in a variety of methods from limited edition etching to unique monotype all his work displays a beguiling exuberance. By temperament a Bohemian and an unabashed hedonist White has an extraordinary ability to distil his unflagging joie-de-vivre into vibrant imagery and the boldest arrangements of brilliant saturated colour.
Travelling the world in search of exotic locations, his pictures capture the essence of far-away places: the lush delights of South America, the strange beauty of the mountainous landscapes of Australia and New Zealand or the paradisiacal magic of tropical islands.
Back home, he discovers a similar rich vein of inspiration and, unlikely as it may be, often as much colour in quiet places in England. Though it is easy to respond to the immediate charm of the seemingly spontaneous splashes of vibrant colour that characterise much of Michael's work, we should not forget that these landscapes, still-lives or lavish depictions of flowers, always so full of painterly energy, are also underpinned by precise observation, a sense of formal values and a concern for careful technique honed over many years of artistic endeavour.
In such seductive scenes as ‘Nude Model With Perfectly
Trimmed Bush at Great Dixter’ or delicious renderings of plants such as ‘Amorous Insects Debating the Delights of the Cote D'Azur Amongst the Cacophony of Furtive Love Making on a Sunny Day at Great Dixter’. Michael B. White reveals his own idiosyncratic and warmly generous view of things; with an equal generosity of spirit he invites us to share in and celebrate the sensuous pleasure that he takes in his artistic world.
Historian & Curator of Prints, Victoria & Albert Museum