For artist Anthony White, the physical act of painting is an intrinsic part of his practice. In the sanctuary of his studio,
White begins by quietly mixing paint, the smooth hues required for his palette might require a day or so to perfect. Working on one painting at a time, the pace quickens while he builds a structure in layers - freely improvising with the paint while adding collage to the production. White has found that in these ‘lost’ moments he’s able to do his best work. He becomes, in effect, the sole writer, director and actor of this performance - some of which will only be
played out inside his head. Like one of his influences, the American abstractionist Lee Krasner, the artist tries to keep his conscious mind “from interfering with [his] goal to be intuitive and spontaneous”. Although they’re drawn from the depths of his inner psyche, White’s randomly produced images embody universal qualities.
Still a young artist, White’s resume is already impressive. Only a few years after graduating from the National Art School, in 2007 the Sydney-based artist received the Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship. The Bequest provided White the opportunity for travel and study in North America, which he followed up with the further honour of receiving the 2009 Storrier Onslow National Art School Studio Residency at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.
White spent 3 months working and studying in the French city before deciding in 2010 to immerse himself in the history of L’Ecole de Paris and make Paris his permanent home.
This new exhibition of White’s paintings, entitled Informal Relations, is concerned with capturing fleeting moments in nature. The title of his show is deliberately ambiguous and White’s ‘informal relations’ exist on several levels - form
and colour, artist and paint, artist and canvas. New experiences in foreign places and the soft northern hemisphere light have led to fresh perspectives which the artist has vigorously expressed on canvas. Are these glimpses of landscapes, memories of places visited or simply pure abstraction?
White’s paintings are spontaneous and not literal readings of anything. Through form and colour they represent an unrestrained rendition of certain snapshots in time. In Pala and Cache disorderly shapes and soft edges organise and fill space while in works like Araignee and Loophole dark and hard-edged overpainting creates depth. In the past White has painted in thick textural layers but for this series he’s paid more attention to the authenticity of the
paint. White’s freedom in expression has generated some magical arrangements. From the flat cornflower blues and pistachio greens of Antibes where composition relies on contrast, White shifts gear to Downtown and it’s harmony of blues punctuated with black.
Through both his method and recent experience White has emerged as an international artist whose unique vision of the world speaks a universal language. As Piet Mondrian once said, “We should not see beyond nature. Rather, we should, so to speak, see through nature. We should see more deeply, see abstractly, and above all universally.”