9 June to 3 July 2010
As a child, she had wanted to eat colour. The primary palette
had seemed the source of all life. She had especially hungered for rich
blood red. The hunger was soon tempered. Instead of hot-headed desire,
it spread through her body.
She carefully recorded minutiae of landscapes in still life, in particular
the arrangements and colours of flowers. She traced branching veins and
patterns of progressive clusters, enlightening the unseen.
Just as she was drawn to nature, she was drawn to movement. When her head
was light with possibility, or dark with impossibility, she tried to pin
down time, to make it visible. Going beyond delineation, her motion habituated
and composed, she yielded to a chink of light, a flaw in the arrangement.
She weaved space, reconfiguring it, her arms reaching out, hands shaping
and fingers fanning. She pushed glass over the paint, imagining the earth
being re-created every second, with each movement. She had experienced
the angles, each re-creation, since her birth, her relationship with spacetime
intimate. In a certain light, she could see its projection. Then time
became visible. It did not stand still or pass, but was with her, a constant.
She worked the space with her body, spreading her palette; at times expressed
in sharp seismic folds, strata of sound and movement; at other times floating
as city lights, silent and still. There was room for chance in the corrugation
of bleeding colours, and in layers of veined circles, patterns of infinite
She watched a pigeon glide overhead, tracing loops through the sky, and
wondered whether every inch of ground and air space had been occupied,
even momentarily. She imagined how existence would look if each moment
was laid one on top of the other, and thought how memory is like that,
an accumulation of moments, the present cast in the light of all previous
Beyond the window stretched the body of unending space, its topography
mapped by buildings, roads, cars, a racecourse, horses, grass, trees and
flowers. Blocks of space animated by lone souls, slivers of space animated
by congregations. She followed the contours of this space body, inverting
it to a solid state and all that was solid—the buildings, roads,
trees—to mere outlines. What then became of mass? As the cast that
moulded space, mass was fleeting. She was fleeting. The buildings, roads,
gardens, and the earth—all were fleeting.
A response to Anna White’s exhibition Away…Towards.
Ruth Learner, Melbourne, May 2010.
Steeped in the avant-garde traditions of action, abstract
expressionist and performance painting, Melbourne artist Anna White explores
viscosity in her own way. On small sheets of variously tinted perspex
she daubs, smears and manipulates, with virtuosic finesse, the wet body
of oil paint. Less concerned with its gross materiality than its theatrical
ability to invoke intuitive gesture, rapid drama and infinitely subtle
transitional states, she bids, using scrapers and other tools, paint to
compose the painting. Sometimes the result is unexpectedly like flickering,
swarming, electro-static fields, at others like strangely volatile beds
of flowers seeking to cohere against forces of intense speed.
Ross Moore, The Age, 6 June 2008, p.19
White 2005 Exhibition
White 2008 Exhibition