The White Paintings are about activating a seemingly blank space. I was initially inspired by dance and the implications of movement. They date from 1976 to 1990.

“His large-scale paintings, some of which are horizontal, but many of which are vertical, are often as high as eight feet tall and only fifteen or twenty inches wide. These intensely powerful works are virtually empty. They appear at first glance to be all white. Then, with enough time to allow the eye to become accustomed to the work, and the focus to become critical, what appears before the viewer is a coursing field of white, activated marks which flow and pulse like moving reeds in the wind, or matter being drawn along in a current. Behind, up, and through this throbbing field of space/time swim a few wriggling, dipping marks of exquisite color. In these paintings, ‘White holes’ like magnetic fields pull thousands of activated marks out through their centers and to the back of some unseen power field. In their attenuated space, the colored marks, which denote sound, ‘fall’ through space and time: that one heard a moment ago, this one just played another only vaguely remembered. There appears to be no one system or order, but rather, in their place–a series of undulating rhythms.”

-Jan Butterfield
Exhibition Catalog, 1979
A.J. Wood Galleries, Philadelphia