Music has always been an integral part of Eric White’s life, and is instrumental to his studio practice. He credits the Beatles’ White Album with getting him through his parents’ divorce, and there’s a soundtrack for every work he’s ever created. And of course, White is aware that music influences many of our lives in similar ways. What significance did the White Album have in others’ lives? Did anyone else see Frank Zappa’s film 200 Motels way too young? Who else saw Carole King as a surrogate mother and wanted to live in that room on the cover of Tapestry? After a strange dream set in a record store brought this obsession with music together with his love for nostalgia, appreciation of absurdist humor, and longtime fascination with alternate realities, Eric White was inspired to create the paintings for LP.
For this new body of work, White takes the imagery and associations of music and album covers and filters them through his own vision and experience, and with great reverence for classic album cover design, reinterprets each original record. Employing a variety of techniques from trompe-l’œil to impasto, the LP sized paintings become fetishized objects, incorporating messages that range from cultural commentary to personal demons to silly jokes. Most every piece is instantly recognizable, but on further inspection the artist’s warped perspective emerges. For Get The Knack the band’s faces are garbled by information overload as the text reads “Too Much Content.” In Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours a disparate collection of ominous imagery reminds us that in our hearts we are all “Terrified of Most.” And White works one of his basic philosophies for a happy life into Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats, with “Always Have Two Cats.”
As with Eric White’s previous work, this exhibition connects with the viewer via humor and nostalgia while encouraging us to question the reality we are being fed. The difference here is that for LP, White celebrates his inspiration and influences - the dream world, the lost art of the album cover, the irreverent parody of wacky packages, and his love of early pop art – much more directly, creating a specific and cohesive experience within the exhibition.
Eric White earned his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. His work has been exhibited at the MACRO Museum in Rome, the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Paris, and Track 16 in Los Angeles, as well as in shows at several New York galleries including Freight + Volume, Cheim & Read, PPOW, Clementine, and Derek Eller. He lives and works in Brooklyn.