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.
The content of her work 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.
Using stylized gestures as a mode of ritualistic format and screen performance, White’s modus operandi is often an exploration on the subject of relationships of power and repression; sometimes drawing from ancient stories re-contextualized into meditations on the world in which we live and the ramifications of inaction and stagnation.
With a dreaminess skewing between the figurative and the abstract, her moving image works are impressions of a borderline area that simultaneously belongs to action, thought, and emotion. Documentary and essay films present surreal states of actuality that reflect the collective dreamscape that belongs to us all.
Her studio and moving image works draws from projections visualized in humanity’s mental imagery, belonging to the complex movements of spirit, that remain in flux as ongoing dynamisms of evolutionary change. Moving images are filterized into the deliberately painterly. They use rhythm, aesthetics, and storytelling, to delineate an intuitive feeling “meaning,” to bring to consciousness aspects of the subjects investigated. They often center on themes of power and repression, and incorporate imagery from Nature.
After exhibiting in Philadelphia galleries, universities, and cultural centers; including solo shows at Villanova’s gallery, and Race Gallery; curating several group shows 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, she began exploring other opportunities.
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. 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. These were screened at numerous cultural centers, including the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, the Museum of American Art in Philadelphia and The Newhouse Center in Staten Island, New York.
Accepted into the Snug Harbor Studio Art Program on Staten Island she participated in their group exhibitions every year. In 2001, she curated a group show through Art Initiatives, and received a scholarship at the Manhattan Graphics Center, and a sound residency administered through Momenta Art at Brooklyn’s The Outpost, and a year long residency at PS122 where her paintings with the theme of 9/11, included poems from NYC’s poets, with references to art historic paintings.
A solo gallery show at Ch’i: An Art Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was grounded on Chinese calligraphy and video installations. INVISIBLE ENERGY: ASIAN ART FORM INFLUENCES IN MY WORK, her 2003 lecture at the College Art Association, diagramed her work’s connection with Asian technique and philosophies.
A solo show of her single channel videos 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 HOWL Festival’s Art in Odd Places Show.
Her feature length experi-mentary, NY(see), reflects what New York stands for: America’s cradle of immigration; the site of the 9/11 Disaster; the platform of a 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 have been screened at: Estation Indianilla in Mexico City, the MAGA Film Fest in Georgia; BYOTV in Portland Oregon. Her video installation, GOT’CHA, was curated into Whose Afraid of Ornament?; at NutureArt in Brooklyn and other installations, such as TURQUOISE BEADS, with video and paintings were developed for the Lower East Side’s Vision Festival in 2007 and 2009.
Her second show at Millennium Film Workshop was presented in 2010.
Her film, STUFF of our DREAMS, is one of eleven finalists in the Appropriation Alliance Critical Remix Festival: Oil and War! held in Fresno, California in 2011. In 2011 “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 the 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 a 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 LMCC’s MCAT Arts Fund Grant.
It saw its 10th SEASON in 2020, and has on online presence with curated shows ( 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.
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 2000’s her studio work was curated into group shows at CERES GALLERY, MARYLAND FEDERATION of the ARTS, and Detroit’s MONA, among others. Studios residencies occurred at CARTER BURDEN STUDIO RESIDENCY, the Manhattan Graphics Center, CHASHAMA, PS 122 and other places.
During the COVID lockdown, she wrote scripts & stories: THE PINK STONE and CAT MOTHER.
CAT MOTHER: a picture book for adults, was self-published with her ink painting-illustratrations; which were displayed at NYPL at TOMPKINS SQUARE , where she did a lecture-presentation on October 2, 2022.
In 2021 she was awarded a City Artist Corps Grant to do a live reading with 20 actors of her magic-realism, feature film, CAT MOTHER, at an EAST VILLAGE garden, during the pandemic.
And, 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 appeared at the FISUA (2023) & FOTOGENIA( 2022) Film Festivals in Mexico City.