Eleanor White: It’s About Time

Extended through October 21st
Open until 8pm for Second Saturday

Matteawan Gallery, 436 Main Street – Beacon

Matteawan Gallery is pleased to present Eleanor White: It’s About Time. White’s second solo show at the gallery explores the passing of time in sculpture and drawings that incorporate unusual materials, often in a circular form.


The concept of time features prominently in Eleanor White’s work. Her sculpture Continuous Timer is made from glass sand timers attached to a rotating wheel. The timers continuously empty and refill in an endless cycle that symbolizes the passing of minutes, hours, days, years, and lifetimes. For the ongoing work Shed, White has collected hair from her brush every day since 2002 and formed it into a ball. As the ball of hair grows larger and heavier each year, it provides physical evidence of the passage of time.

The use of hair in Shed is also representative of the detritus of everyday life, another prominent theme in White’s work. Dandelion Rug, for example, is composed of hundreds of small plastic bags filled with dandelion fluff collected for many years and arranged in a circle on the floor. Only the Shell is a series of wall-mounted sculptures composed of eggshell halves lined with gold leaf. Eggshells are a reference to birth, newness, and renewal, as well as a metaphor for the human shell we inhabit. White also uses crushed eggshells and wood ash from her pellet stove in her drawings.

It’s About Time includes a recent series of drawings on discarded hygrothermograph charts, round sheets of paper from an instrument that measures and records humidity and temperature in the museum where White works. She covers the charts with intricate patterns that resemble mandalas. The “paint” she uses is composed of crushed eggshells or wood ash mixed with clear acrylic. White suggests that, like a Dutch still life vanitas painting, wood ash is a personal reminder that her life span will conclude as organic compounds and carbon.

The transformation of materials is an important theme in Eleanor White’s practice. She enjoys the challenge of working with things that are non-traditional and at the same time familiar and relatable in some way. Obsessive repetition and layering are hallmarks of her painstakingly crafted work, which usually involves covering, revealing, overlapping, building up a structure, or isolating a single found element. White takes ordinary objects and makes them into something wonderful, captivating, and strange, thereby showing the potential of everything around us to change over time.

Eleanor White has exhibited nationally, with solo exhibitions in Beacon, NY at Matteawan Gallery (2015), BAU, and Van Brunt Gallery. Her work was included in recent group exhibitions at Lehman College Art Gallery, Bronx, NY; Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Larchmont, NY; Gallery Aferro, Newark, NJ; Woodstock Artists Association & Museum, Woodstock, NY; Rockland Center for the Arts, Nyack, NY; Westchester Community College, White Plains, NY; Ann Street Gallery, Newburgh, NY; Garrison Art Center, Garrison, NY; Able Fine Arts, NY, NY; Hammond Museum, North Salem, NY; Byrdcliffe Kleinert/James Center for the Arts; Woodstock, NY; and the Deutsche Bank Art Collection, NY, NY. White was a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Printmaking/Drawing/Artists’ Books in 2007. She participated in artist residencies at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, Nebraska and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Sweet Briar, VA. Her work is in the collection of Montefiore Fine Art Program and Collection, Bronx, NY; Deutsche Bank Art Collection, New York, NY; and Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE. White received a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA and an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD. She currently lives in Beacon, NY.

Eleanor White, Only the Shell (detail), 2018, eggshells, paint, gold leaf, epoxy putty, dimensions variable.
Eleanor White, Aqua Mandala, eggshell, wood ash, acrylic, polymer medium on paper, 9 x 9 in