Peter White tells me that he often feels uncomfortable when words describe his work. 'They must stand alone,' he says. So I must apologise to you Peter for using this obscure word to explain why we are drawn to your paintings. 'Empyreal' is my obscure word. It means relating to the highest heaven, believed to contain pure light or fire. White's work finds this 'heavenly fire and light' in simple objects - bowls, garments, heads, hats and books - and it is this empyreal object we are looking at.
In a Peter White painting a bowl is more than a vessel for porridge, a shirt is more than a garment to wear, and a head is far more than a collection of flesh and bone. All these things are vessels. A pure essence of what they once held remains, long after they have been emptied. All the objects White paints hold onto this empyreal presence, the ghost of fire and light.
Tony Davidson, Gallery Director