Artist Jo White: a Moree talent unearthed
A JOVIAL group of players all beautifully attired in tennis whites at a dusty bush tennis court – it’s an image bathed in the elegance of yesteryear.
Moree’s Jo White is the region’s latest breakthrough artist, with her large-scale, contemporary acrylics reflecting a nostalgic nod to more simple times.
And while much of her inspiration is drawn from personal family albums, the sentiment behind her images is proving universally widespread.
“Many of my pieces originate from old black and white photos, and memories that are special to me,” Jo said.
“And the response has been amazing. So many people have commented that they can relate to my paintings and have similarly fond images in their own family albums.”
One of her Tennis Party scenes has even made its way to California.
“It’s quite amazing. The painting is one that I think is very local to rural Australia, and very personal to me, but it evokes memories right across the world,” Jo said.
Growing up in the Crooble area and having spent her adulthood in Moree, Jo is no stranger to the local community, but her newfound status as an artist has taken many by surprise.
“For family and friends my move into painting professionally has been a long time coming, pretty much everyone I am close to has one of my drawings.”
“But having worked 9-5 for so many years in town, people don’t see that side of me – although I’m sure I’m often drawing and doodling when I should be doing something else,” she laughed.
Having always dreamed of an artist’s lifestyle, ‘what a beautiful life, painting all day,’ Jo isn’t giving up her day job just yet, but judging by her meteoric rise to acclaim, art-filled days may be closer than she thinks.
She has already exhibited solo at Murrurundi’s Michael Reid Gallery and garnered invites to Goondiwindi’s Art Aspect Show and The Other Art Fair in Melbourne and Sydney, and this month Jo unveils her first local exhibition at The Moree Gallery.
Entitled A Sporting Chance the exhibition depicts scenes central to country community life.
“I find images that portray the activities that bring a community together particularly meaningful, and this is the basis of my latest exhibition,” she said.
“Annual races, cricket, Saturday rugby games, tennis – sport is such a central theme in rural Australia and really the social fabric of the community.”
Jo is excited about her first home-town exhibition, which comprises a vast selection of her work.
“I didn’t quite realise what a vibrant, creative scene we have here in Moree – artists, photographers, videographers, writers and gorgeous galleries that attract top artists,” Jo said.
“The support I’ve had has been phenomenal and I’m humbled to be a part of it.”
Jo’s unique style, which she describes as ‘a contemporary nostalgic look at Australia’, is brimming with personality, and she admits she misses her ‘friends’ once they’re sold.
“Every piece I paint becomes my favourite, until I start the next one,” she laughs.
“But it’s nice knowing that these pieces evoke the same memories and joy for others as they do for me.”
The Moree Gallery Exhibition opens 10am Friday August 25, including drinks with the artist from 5.30-7.30pm, and runs until Friday, 29 September.
Exhibition will be online www.moreegallery.com.au
Words and Image: Georgina Poole