Lili White Biography

LILI WHITE has been exhibiting her works in shows in the United States and abroad after she received at B.F.A.from the University of Pennsylvania and graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts with a four-year painting certificate. Her work has been called “a magical act,” and one such project undertaken to illustrate this was THE DREAMING: A SLEEPOVER RESEARCH PROJECT at Shofuso, The Japanese House & Garden in Philadelphia, where she sleep overnight and recorded her dreams for artistic use.

Her work enlists the tenets of Surrealism in its philosophical stance regarding war, desire, and use of techniques of frottage, and automatism, as a means to channel the unconscious to unlock the power of the imagination.
Her content highlights nature and spirit, myth, dreams, archetypal imagery, psychology, language, and the shared concerns of humanity; to express the idea that mind, body and spirit co-exist and are always in search of balance.
Working spontaneously, she uncovered projections of humanity’s mental imagery, which belong to the complex fluctuating movements of spirit that are the ongoing dynamisms of evolutionary change. Many of these works found definition through universal auguries.

Hyper-realistic painting style, and sculptures and collage work that juxtaposed found-objects, created provocative, unsettling pieces.
Iconic-ish human silhouette targets with mixed media and collage, delineate relationships about the ramifications of inaction and stagnation.

Her interest in the moving image and multimedia, lead her to perform, write, produce, direct several live multi-media pieces, each of which included the performance participation of over a dozen actors, poets and dancers.

After exhibiting in Philadelphia galleries, universities, and cultural centers; including individual painting shows at Villanova University, and Race Gallery; curating several group shows, one through Art Initiatives in that employed the title taken from a C.G.Jung phrase, “The Light from Behind,” and serving as a steering committee member and Public Relations Chairperson for The Armory Show: 1990, a 4 day art show of 400 area artists, White began exploring other opportunities.

Accepted into the Snug Harbor Studio Art Program on Staten Island she participated in their group exhibitions every year. One painting series incorporated natural objects as relics, making imaginative “psychic” landscapes.
During the 2000’s her studio work was curated into group shows at CERES GALLERY, MARYLAND FEDERATION of the ARTS, and Detroit’s MONA, among others. Residencies occurred at the CARTER BURDEN STUDIO RESIDENCY, CHASHAMA, and other places. In 2002, she received a scholarship at the Manhattan Graphics Center, and a sound residency administered through Momenta Art at Brooklyn’s The Outpost.

The paintings from 2001, made at PS122’s year long residency carried the theme of 9/11. These incorporated poems from NYC’s poets, glyphic words from other cultures (like “brotherhood” in Afgani) and references to historic paintings, that illustrated something akin to thought.

An individual show with reversible paintings at Ch’i: An Art Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was grounded in Chinese ink calligraphy and the psychological phenomena of “projection.”
Her 2003 presentation at the College Art Association, INVISIBLE ENERGY: ART FORM INFLUENCES IN MY WORK, diagrammed her work’s connection with archaic, Asian and Surreal techniques and philosophies.

Upon the introduction of computer digital editing programs, she made several videos that featured gestural performance — a continuation of her earlier Super 8 film work.

Her moving image work often used stylized gestures as a mode of ritualistic format and screen performance; her modus operandi is often an exploration of subject of power and repression; sometimes drawing from ancient stories re-contextualized into meditations on the world in which we live.
Raw video was filterized into the deliberately painterly, along with rhythm, aesthetics, and storytelling, to delineate an intuitive feeling “meaning,” bringing to consciousness aspects of the subjects investigated. 
Her documentary and essay films present surreal states of actuality that reflect the collective dreamscape that belongs to us all. These were screened at numerous cultural centers, including the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, the Museum of American Art in Philadelphia.

A solo show of her films was presented in China both in Beijing and at Shanghai’s Duloun Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2005 CLOUDGATE, her outdoor video projection was presented as part of the 1st HOWL Festival’s Art in Odd Places Show.

Her feature length experi-mentary, NY(see), reflects New York standing as America’s cradle of immigration; the site of the 9/11 Disaster; the platform of perhaps the only genuine international city. Three immigrant artists intersect with their own artwork; New York’s cityscapes and White’s performative actions, referring to the energy fields shared between them; imparting archetypes belonging to “the artist.”

In 2006 she initiated the idea, and project managed a fundraising DVD; FOR LIFE AGAINST THE WAR, AGAIN! for The NY Filmmakers CO-OP, which successfully sold to libraries and universities.

In the summer of 2007 solo shows occur at Millennium Film Workshop, Le Petit Versailles, and the Jersey City Museum. Several shorts screened at: Estation Indianilla in Mexico City, the MAGA Film Fest in Georgia; BYOTV in Portland Oregon.

Her reversible, see-through, paintings and installation designed for GOT’CHA, were presented in Whose Afraid of Ornament?; at NutureArt in Brooklyn. Installations, like TURQUOISE BEADS, that incorporated projections onto paintings were developed for the Lower East Side’s Vision Festival in 2007 and 2009, one featuring a live dance by Gus Solomns Jr.

Her second show at Millennium Film Workshop in 2010, presented work with a dreaminess that skewed between the figurative and the abstract— impressions from a borderline area that simultaneously belongs to action, thought, and emotion.

Her film, STUFF of our DREAMS, was one of eleven finalists in the Appropriation Alliance Critical Remix Festival: Oil and War! held in Fresno, California in 2011. And in that same year, “everything, BUT” won a prize for BEST FILM PROMOTING (agricultural) SUSTAINABILITY at 3 – A Short Short Film Fest in South Bend Indiana.

Many cinematic works connect news-media issues to scientific facts, personal to mythic stories, film and art histories, and other art forms to present a holistic view of their chosen theme, such as THE KITCHEN SINK and FOOL’s GOLD: CALIFORNIA ROADTRIP in an ELECTION YEAR, her feature film essay from 2014, intermixed elderly members of from a company mining town, Zombie consumerism (brought to the fore in the 1980’s by Michael Jackson), and the Cain & Able murder story, painting a tableau portrait of American “greed”. It was granted a NYSCA finishing funds award.

In 2011 she developed ANOTHER EXPERIMENT BY WOMEN FILM FESTIVAL  (aka AXW) that became a Fractured Atlas Fiscally Sponsored Campaign and a recipient of a 2011 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council‘s Manhattan Arts Council Grant.
After its final 10th seasom in 2020, it has maintained an online presence with free, curated shows at <http: axwonline.com>

FROM 2012-15 she served as an Elected Board Member of Millennium Film Workshop. As Chair of the Archive Committee, a sale of their Archives was sold to NYC’s MoMA.

IN 2018, her work was part of the CUBED LUMINOUS show at the Pensecola Museum of Art.
In 2019, IMAGINING BACKWARDS: a public dialogue on her work, occurred with curator: Jesse Russel Brooks, Director of The Film and Video Poetry Society.

During the COVID lockdown, she wrote scripts & stories: THE PINK STONE and CAT MOTHER. In 2021 she was awarded a City Artist Corps Grant to do a live reading with 20 actors of her magic-realism, feature film script, CAT MOTHER, at an EAST VILLAGE garden, during the pandemic.

The paintings from her artist-book, CAT MOTHER: a picture book with a magical story, were displayed at NY Public Library’s TOMPKINS SQUARE branch, along with a lecture-presentation on October 2, 2022.

Her short, THE KITCHEN SINK, was curated by Jeffrey Cypers Wright’s “& Friends,” an on-line TV show produced by HOWL! HAPPENING.

In 2022, A PHILADELPHIA STORY, was juried into the INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL in DETMOLD Germany; and was included in Austria’s ArtFem.TV collection of women filmmakers by Evelin Stermitz in 2020. Other shorts were screened at the FISURA (2023) & FOTOGENIA (2022) Film Festivals in Mexico City.