Thomas Sayre at work on  a section of "White Gold," in his Raleigh, North Carolina, studio.



A Brief History

In 2016, CAM Raleigh commissioned a site-specific installation by artist Thomas Sayre to temporarily fill our large gallery space in the heart of downtown Raleigh’s Warehouse District. White Gold included three large-scale murals about the growing of cotton in the American South, accompanied by concrete earthcasts representing furrows in a cotton field.

The murals surrounded and embraced the viewer from three vantage points: field, furrow, and barn. The viewer was enveloped in a landscape that reckons with agriculture, poverty, slavery, history, time, memory, and—ultimately—belonging. 

Sayre created the murals on panel board with mud, tar, and resin. A laborious and layered process allowed the artist to rub, scrape, tear at, and gouge the surfaces to reveal shapes that morph into seeds, skulls, flowers, and other abstractions welcomed by the viewer’s imagination and understanding of the layered history of cotton.

Thank you for visiting.—CAM Raleigh