White Gold: Thomas Sayre
On view through July 26, 2020
Tampa Museum of Art
Tampa, Florida

“White Gold” is an immersive installation by artist Thomas Sayre (American, b. 1950) that depicts a cotton-filled Southern landscape. The work intends to express the beauty, the complexity, and the tragedy of our embroiled agricultural traditions. Cotton is one of the nation’s most contentious and layered materials, and one with which almost every American has a personal relationship, either directly or indirectly. Inevitably, it is linked to the economic, racial, and social history of the region and its people. Sayre’s “White Gold” refers to cotton and a reverence for the land, the labor, and the people (forced or unforced) who made cotton their livelihood. The installation is a fierce expression of the Southern landscape: its magnificence and the haunting pain of history, memory, and ultimately, belonging.

Image credits: Thomas Sayre (American, b. 1950). White Gold, 2016-2017. Mixed media. Dimensions variable. © 2017 Thomas Sayre / Clearscapes