Carl White: Carousel
By Anne Ewen, Curator of Art & Heritage
April 13 – June 9, 2019
This exhibition is one of three new exhibitions coming this spring! The others will include Laara Cassells _after and Susanne Aaltonen: Knowing How Little I Need Her Now. Please Join us for the opening reception on Saturday, April 13 at 7 p.m.
A carousel, like a roulette wheel, a lottery or equine-style fair ride, are metaphors White envisions in context to the continuously spinning merry-go-round of life and quest for the meaning of existence.
White’s fascination with art history and mythology, together with his understanding of artistic techniques, theories and application are the foundations of his practice. An intelligent and highly skilled painter, he combines his encyclopedic knowledge of art history with his love of punk rock culture and skateboarding. White’s paintings exude a genteel quietude overlaid with exquisitely choreographed defiance where the 16th century meets graffiti. These compelling historic painterly impressions merge with contemporary references encouraging the viewer to consider the value of preciousness and lasting preservation.
On newly constructed work, veneer is pristine and clear but as paintings age, they crackle and flake, oftentimes peeling away like ripened rind. Seasoned and wrinkled skin form maps of our lives and like art are in a constant state of deterioration. Atrophy is impossible to halt. Yet, using heaters and accompaniments, White deliberately ages his paintings seeking the finely laced and intercrossed lines conservators strive to restore. Canvas is furled, back painted and gilded, offering an unpretentiousness attitude to the strictures of art museum protocols. Here the frame serves to amplify the gaping edges of frayed work.
As he contends with the complexities of his art practice, the artist manipulates multiple techniques with intuition and a practiced hand while exploring the riddles of painting.
Superb inventiveness combined with the talents of a forger, his paintings are transmutations with subtle gestures such as a Rubens hand or Kandinsky colourations, drawn from the recesses of his mind, where an archive of images coexist with the knowledge of Alchemy, Koan, Shiva, and the Sex Pistols.
Born in Liverpool, England, Carl White’s early awareness of history and passion for art was fueled by books and nourished by frequent outings to British museums and art institutions. After immigrating to Calgary, White attended the Alberta College of Art + Design studying Design and Communication where his response to assignments were tailored to painting. Upon graduation, White became a full-time painter. His work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions across Canada and are included in many private collections nationally and internationally. His public commissions adorn important structures such as the National Press building in Washington, D.C.
Carl White is represented by Christine Klassen Gallery, Calgary.