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My work explores contrasting ideas such as shelter and exposure, mobility and burden, order and chaos, loss and wealth, heavy and light, bound and unbound, and empty and full.


The subject matter I have been working with most recently came about from living and working near many homeless abodes and encampments that are a result of the housing crisis in San Francisco. My interest in carts is tied to the 20th century American preoccupation with mobility and how that concept has taken on new meaning in the present-day landscape of the American west.

I return again and again the visual paradox of an unsustainable "american" dream juxtaposed with endless manufactured desire  built on the loss and nostalgia of a dying empire.

The subjects are both vehicle and dwelling, although neither, nor. The structures are often elegantly packed to be assembled or disassembled quickly, wrapped and tied in an effort to carry, conceal, and protect. I see the rigs as a sort of exoskeleton, both revealing and protecting its owner. Like a shell, the rig is both home, vehicle, and a sort of suit of armor. Here the subjects are reinterpreted or re-imagined with baroque era drapery or textural lushness, in which I explore not just how the formal elements of weight, balance, and tension can evoke both an inner and outer sense of order or chaos, but also how one observes that which we, as a society, refuse to see.
Often, as the painting progresses imagery suggests itself to me that I wasn't originally aware of; the homeless person's cart becomes a float in a parade, another becomes an injured body, or the discarded sleeping bag becomes a bejeweled vestment or a dying animal. In the end we are always more than the sum of our parts.
I have always been interested in painting's capacity to contain both abject sorrow and spectacular joy simultaneously in its mystery.

Deirdre White

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