Thomas Sayre: White Gold
Thomas Sayre (b. 1950) is an American sculptor and painter based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He 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 Sayre’s contemporary installation “White Gold,” an exhibition organized by CAM Raleigh, are an expression of this intersection. Within his two-dimensional work, the same intersections are achieved with earth, tar, paint, and the artist’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.
Image credit: Thomas Sayre. Thicket (detail), 2016. White laminated masonite panel with roofing tar, Kilz paint, and water based acrylic floor sealer. Photograph by Art Howard. Courtesy of Clearscapes, Raleigh, NC.