The masks I create are inspired by age-old images, designs and patterns that come from my many years of studying various cultural art forms.
Each mask is imbued with a personality that emerges during the process of assembling the pieces of glass. The final design is fired or melted in a kiln, a transformative process of creation and color.
I have used ancient masks as a template to create modern works of art. By using new technologies I continue within a mask making tradition but with a new twist.
The glass I use is called dichroic, it is made with a permanent metallic coating that changes color when viewed from different angles. A mask with red in one position is changed to green as the viewer moves and the light changes.
I’ve been making masks for over 25 years and still experience excitement as each new piece comes into being.Download Paul White's printable statement.
Santa Fe artist Paul White’s work consists of colorful masks created from kiln-formed glass. Each piece is inspired by age-old images, designs, and patterns that come from many years of studying various art forms. White’s original inspiration came from his art history classes at the Massachusetts College of Art, where he learned about everything from indigenous art to contemporary movements. Romanian artist Constantin Brancusi, a pioneer of modern sculpture in the 20th century, particularly resonated with White. Much of Brancusi’s work was inspired by African masks and he wasn’t the only one – many European artists of this time where enthralled by tribal art, creating a contemporary movement around an ancient tradition.
White’s interest in mask making stayed with him as he moved from Massachusetts to Santa Fe in 1976, with no previous knowledge of the city and it’s unique artistic culture. He had studied glass blowing at the Massachusetts College of Art and completed his BFA at the College of Santa Fe, as well as attending the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. He opened two glass blowing studios, one on Canyon Road and one in La Cienega, where he began creating jewelry and experimenting with fused glass, which lead him to mask-making.
White’s masks consist of varying shapes of colored glass fused together in intricate patterns. Each piece is imbued with a personality that emerges during the process of assembling the work. As a regular participant in the Artist in Schools program through ARTsmart New Mexico, White explains his process to the students by relating it to making a pizza: starting with a base piece of glass as the dough, you add the ingredients (the fused glass shapes) and then put it in the oven, or the kiln in his case, to bake. He has worked with the Boys & Girls Club, the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, and other local organizations teaching workshops to young artists.
White has been creating and selling his masks on Canyon Road since 1988. As new technologies and materials came out, his work evolved and he became one of the first artists to work with dichroic glass. This dynamic material displays varying colors in certain light conditions giving White’s masks a glowing and ethereal quality. By incorporating these new technologies while still using ancient masks as a template, White continues within a mask-making tradition but with a new twist.Download Paul White's printable biography.
1971 Helped set up the first glass blowing studio at Mass. College of Art in Boston.
1981 BFA in Glass Blowing, Mass. College of Art
1978-1982 Owned and operated glass blowing studio Canyon Road.
1982-1985 Owned and operated glass blowing studio La Cienega.
1985-2002 Glass Jewelry production.
1988-present Fused Glass masks.
Galleries and shows:
1989-present Hahn Ross Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
1988-2002 Tesuque Glassworks, Tesuque, NM
1988-2000 NM Palace of the Governors Gallery, invitational NM Glass artists.
1990-1994 Signature Gallery, Boston, MA
1982-1984 Marilyn Butler Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona
1983-1985 Enthios Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
1982-1983 Hills Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2002-2008 Occasions Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
Community Projects and Schools 1988-present:
Assisted starting glass studio program for Challenge NM.
Childrens Museum, glass fusing workshops.
Partners in Ed; workshops for elementary and junior High students.
Open Hands: Workshops for disabled and elderly.
Santa Fe Senior Center: glass fusing for elderly.
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: Workshops for children and parents.
Saint Vincent Hospital: Technical support for glass mural project. Mayors commendation.
Pojoaque Boys and Girls Club: glass fusing and pottery.
Glass fusing classes for; Chaparral, EJ Martinez, Eldorado, Agua Fria, Pinon, Ramirez Thomas, Alvord, Tesuque and most Santa Fe elementary schools.
Creative Communities: Demonstration.
New Mexico Art Education Association: Glass fusing workshops for art educators.
Fusing workshops; Pinon elementary White Rock and Los Alamos Elementary.
Workshops; Hands Across Cultures Teen Center, La Puebla.
Workshop; Espanola Girls Club.
Workshop: Warehouse 21
Donated work to Art Smart auction, New Deal Preservation Association fundraising auction.