Seattle artist Anthony White shares one-of-a-kind artwork
The hypnotic, Technicolor creations of award-winning Seattle artist Anthony White are now on display at the Sarah Spurgeon Art Gallery at Randall Hall, and the work has captivated community members and inspired students to think outside the box this term. .
White graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in 2018 and is represented by Greg Kucera Gallery. He has shown his work all over the world in galleries from Chicago to London.
White received the Seattle Art Museum’s 2021 Betty Bowen Prize, the 2020 Neddy Painting Prize and the 2020 Fellowship Award from the Artist Trust, according to her website.
White said his work is “immediate, global, reflective. It captures a lot of contemporary content and reflects on society, nostalgia, closer to home.
The exhibition opened on February 15 at a reception attended by approximately 100 people at the gallery after White’s artist talk at the SURC Theater.
“I was truly amazed and inspired by the turnout at the opening reception,” White said. “There were a lot of students, faculty, and people from the community who showed up, and I was really happy to meet them and talk about the work.”
Heather Horn Johnson, director of the Sarah Spurgeon Art Gallery, said general reaction to the exhibit was positive and students enjoyed interacting with White during the opening.
“It seems like a lot of students really enjoyed talking to Anthony, and Anthony is close to the age of the students here,” Horn Johnson said. “He was really open to talking to them about developing their work and expressing their own identity through their work the way he does.”
Horn Johnson said she was thrilled to bring White’s perspective and creative vision to the CWU.
“The material is unique and deals a lot with popular culture and all the symbols people use to define themselves,” Horn Johnson said. “It also deals with social media. It talks about how we all experience the world through our phones. There are images here that deal with queer identity, and it’s good to have that perspective represented here.
White’s medium of choice is PLA plastic, commonly used in 3D printing. He said he was fascinated by 3D printing technology when he first encountered it in Cornish’s fabrication lab.
“It just made sense,” White said. “That’s what I render on panel, done in real life with very similar or exactly the same material.”
Many of White’s compositions include layers of objects and iconography representing certain moments and trends in history. He said he begins each of these works by focusing on a few different objects that create a sort of narrative.
“Each piece usually starts with a few objects in mind that tell an interesting story or create a very unique shape, or there’s a pun or a joke between a few things that I want to expand on,” White said. “It starts with interest or curiosity between the first few things, and then leaving, it’s like, ‘Okay, this object tells a funny story with this one and it’s related to that one. There is a quiet relationship between these two and if you put this one next to that one, there is a conspiracy theory.
White said he had a chaotic but intimate relationship with his intricate artwork.
“I spend so much time with every piece I make, it takes hundreds of hours per piece,” White said. “I fall in love with them each in a different way, and it’s like a roller coaster, love-hate, toxic relationship between me and each.”
Horn Johnson chose to feature White’s self-portrait titled “Quiet Hour” for promotional material for the exhibition. White said he created “Quiet Hour” at the height of the BLM protests in 2020.
“There was this sadness that loomed over everything at the time, so I wanted to create a piece that has this figure in the spotlight that’s sort of haunting and eerie but also quiet and calm,” White said. “That’s where the title got its name, the stillness of the world at that time and the inner dialogue that everyone had when there were people fighting for life and taking a stand on a cause. very important.”
White said “Quiet Hour” was inspired by the work of American artist Kerry James Marshall, specifically his piece titled “Nude in Spotlight.”
When asked to choose his personal favorite pieces from the collection, White said the pieces titled “Final Fantasy”, “Pay 2 Play” and “Freeze Frame” were meaningful to him.
Horn Johnson said she hopes the exhibit will have a resounding impact on the community by providing representation from diverse perspectives.
“We want to show different points of view in the gallery and present it as a safe space, where people can come in and eventually identify with the artists,” said Horn Johnson.
White said he hopes his work will spark important discussions and inspire students.
“I just hope it speaks to audiences on campus, while encouraging them to tell stories in any way they see fit,” White said. “I hope this will encourage them to come up with things that bring communities together to start a dialogue and ask questions.”
White’s work is available on his website, www.boywithplastic.com.