Understanding The Abstract

Photo Courtesy of Dina White

 This May, Dina White will receive her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in painting and drawing — a medium she has been working in since she was 17.White received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts and decided to go back to school to not only feel more confident in her work, but to be able to explain it to others more easily.“I just wanted to know more about the theory and be able to describe my work more effectively to people,” White said. “I don’t think a lot of people understand abstract art, so I just wanted more of a language to explain it.”

White’s thesis, “Infobahn,” deals with the dichotomy between the overload of information we are faced with every day and the moments of solitude we experience when we are alone.

“It’s about all the stimuli we see every day and how we respond to it,” White said. “There’s so much information out there, people have three emails and a Facebook and a Twitter and their cell phone. A lot of times you’ll be talking to someone and they’ll be engaged with their phone. It’s this multitasking that never ends.”

“Infobahn” is comprised of three different components — “Random Order,” “Rest Stop” and “E-Z Pass.”

“Random Order” is comprised of 80 reclaimed signs — which were either found, bought or gifted to her — then she painted on them. White said she was inspired by the things that quickly flash by your window while  driving.

“They have the silver component that appears to flicker like a computer screen,” she said. “It’s all about the speed of contemporary culture.”

“Rest Stop” has at least 30 works on paper completed with walnut ink, and “E-Z Pass” is one large-scale painting (68 by 72 inches), which White describes as “a passage into the unknown with an industrial, gritty quality.”

White draws much of her inspiration from the years she spent living in New York City and the way cities are changing.

“The old beautiful buildings are being torn down and replaced with these glass buildings that are probably more efficient because of the technology that goes into them,” White said. “But they don’t have character, there’s not that sense of beauty that I find in something that has a history behind it.”

Inspired by construction sites, White said the color scheme of these places influences her work.

“Orange and silver [are] reoccuring colors that come up in my work in general,” she said. “Orange is a color that signifies important information and silver has an industrial quality.”

Though she highlights the high-speed, technology-saturated culture we live in, her work also focuses on solitude.

“It’s about the moments of reprieve we get during the day, when we are completely alone,” White said. “We can connect with our bodies and our minds when there’s no computer technology around us.”

“Infobahn” will be on display in the Dorsky on Friday, May 17.