Thomas Sayre: White Gold
Thomas Sayre has always made work that dances between human intention and the resistance of materials. His process of making allows the life of the work to spring from the world's serendipitous offerings when the human hand intersects with nature. The earthcasts in the exhibition, White Gold, are an expression of this intersection. Through his two-dimensional work, the same intersection is achieved with dirt, tar, paint, and Sayre's labor, the physical act of smearing, scraping, and rubbing. For Sayre, this process is also a symbolic reckoning with the past. White Gold refers to cotton and a reverence for the land, the labor, and the people (forced or unforced) who made cotton their livelihood. White Gold is a fierce expression of the Southern landscape: the searing beauty and the haunting pain of history, memory -- and ultimately belonging.
Thomas Sayre is a Raleigh, NC based artist who is best known for his large-scale earthcast sculptures. He has created public installations across the United States and around the world. Sayre grew up in Washington, D.C. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar, majoring in English and Studio Art. He graduated in 1973, summa cum lade. He was awarded a Michigan Fellowship with a three-year grant from the Ford Foundation to create sculpture at the University of Michigan. In 1975, he attended the Master of Fine Arts program at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Sayre received the North Carolina Award for Fine Arts in 2012 and received an honorary doctorate from North Carolina State University in 2014. He currently resides in Raleigh, NC with his wife, Joan-Ellen Deck. Together they have two daughters.
Thomas Sayre: White Gold, organized by CAM Raleigh, is made possible by generous support from AV Metro, Citrix, Cotton Incorporated, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Betty Eichenberger Adams Society. CAM Raleigh is funded in part by the City of Raleigh based on recommendations of the Raleigh Arts Commission.
Image credit: Gallery view of Thomas Sayre: White Gold, as installed at the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) of Raleigh, NC. Photograph by Art Howard.