A Thimble for My Soul

The folded paper box form, with its consistent proportions and vessel-like construction, has become a key building block and formal device in my sculptural and installation-based work. Ranging in size from a quarter-inch to more than 30 inches across, the boxes are hand-folded from a variety of papers and may also include materials such as onion skins, plastics, thread, and oil paint. 

Though the form suggests solidity, the material is fragile and vulnerable.  I’m fascinated by the container aspect of the box, and the weird subversion of the perfect, crisp geometry of the structure by the sagging, fragile nature of the paper. Gravity is one my ingredients. 

I often utilize byproducts of my environment and career, such as abandoned student drawings, used post-it notes, and discarded documents.  In all my work, connections and gaps play an important role, as well as material incongruities such as translucency and opacity, crisp and saggy, fragile and sturdy, geometric and organic, authentic and fake.  Frequently, there is a relationship or contrast of the inside versus the outside of the box structure.  I exploit tension between constructed versus deconstructed areas.  Often, my work is composed of many small components, which together produce a curved, organic (even-cloth like) shape from a distance, but dissolve into hard-edged geometry when viewed in close proximity. 

I’m interested in paradoxes, contradictions, distortions, and progressions. The boxes, individually or corporately, may function as several things at once – as houses, bodies, a time sequence, or segments of a greater whole.



Joanna White completed her MFA at Florida State University in 2005, where she focused on installation and inter-media projects.  Currently, she is Professor of Art at Eastern Florida State College in Cocoa, Florida. Her work has been featured in several solo shows, and in museum exhibits at the Tampa Museum of Art, the Boca Raton Museum of Art, the Museum of Florida Art, the Brevard Art Museum, the Florida State University Museum of Fine Art, and the Albin Polasek Museum. She has exhibited across the United States, and her work has been selected by curators from MOMA New York, SFMOMA, Museum of Fine Art Boston, Smithsonian, High Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery, and Guggenheim Museum. Her work has been reviewed by the St. Petersburg Times, Daytona Beach News-Journal, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Valdosta Daily Times, Fort Myers Florida Weekly, Focus Magazine South Florida, Florida Today, and Southern Magazine, as well as the cable television program Focus.