Orange Coast College marks 40 years of art from Newport Beach artist Linda White

Linda White during a reception for her show at Orange Coast College.
Linda White at a reception for her exhibition of paintings, drawings and prints at the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion at Orange Coast College.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Linda White’s husband, Tod, thinks his wife first fell in love with painting when she took an introductory class as a student at Cal State Long Beach.

The artist, who took the class shortly before graduating, describes it as the beginning of a hobby that would follow her for the last 40 years, even as she left the Golden State for greener pastures on the other side of the country.

It struck her all those years ago, she said, that painting was “something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

She said she started out with representational painting but became interested in modern art after moving to Princeton, N.J., where her husband took a job and where they remained for some 30 years. White said she visited the galleries in nearby New York, where she fell in love with conceptual art.

“The work in the day — the contemporary work in the day was minimalism, and I wanted to understand what that was about, and I began to work in that direction,” White, a Newport Beach resident since 1997, said in a recent interview. Her work later drew her away from minimalism and conceptualism, as White instead sought out “the freedom of painting” in what she describes as gestural — a style she continues to this day.

Linda White talks about a piece during a reception of her exhibition.
Linda White talks about one of her pieces during a reception for her exhibition, which will be on display through late March.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

The evolution of her style, she said, is on display at Orange Coast College’s Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion through March 23 in a survey exhibition called “Linda White: Four Decades of Painting from Geometry to Gesture.”

The show is running concurrently with “Ann Phong: Re-Evaluating Normal,” an exhibit of works by Vietnamese artist Ann Phong, who settled in Southern California in 1982 and now teaches drawing and painting at Cal Poly Pomona.

Admission is free, and White will hold an artist-led tour on March 8 at 12:15 p.m. Phong will lead her own tour on Feb. 21, also at 12:15 p.m.

“I’ve always made extra effort to provide recognition to Orange County artists who have been dedicated to their art-making yet haven’t received the full recognition that they deserve since starting my curatorial career in Orange County in the mid-1990s, and to do so with solo survey exhibitions,” Tyler Stallings, director of the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion, wrote in an email Thursday.

Stallings selected which of White’s works would be exhibited at the show.

A student looks at several pieces.
A student looks at several pieces by Linda White at the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion at Orange Coast College.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

About 60 will be showcased, the oldest an acrylic painting called “The Pines” White painted in 1972. Some of her newer works are also featured, including a series of small paintings she said are “about the destruction of houses in my neighborhood and about the detritus that remained and the loss of the memories of these houses. Those are very abstract paintings.

“I would go to these sites, take photographs, take them home and put them on a piece of paper. They’re almost like still lifes.”

While White doesn’t currently have a press at her West Bay Avenue studio, some of the works on display include prints she made in the past.

Multiple pieces of Linda White's work are on display at the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion.
Multiple pieces of Linda White’s work are on display at the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion. The exhibition spans nearly 40 years of her art career.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“Linda White impressed with the dedication towards her painting for over 40 years. I was especially interested in how she incorporated into her work the life she lives by the Pacific Ocean,” Stallings said.

White said while readying the exhibition she hasn’t had time to paint, but she is looking forward to picking up her brushes again once things settle down.

“I will be back. I really miss it,” White said.

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