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Anthony WHITE (b.1976)

Photo of ArtistAnthony White was born in Sydney, Australia in 1976 and grew up on the South Coast of New South Wales. He spent a lot of time on the water as a child as his family were all fishermen. However, despite a happy home life, White suffered intense bullying at school for being different to the stereotypical Australian male of the time. As a result, White became introverted and struggled greatly. However, he developed an interest in art as a teenager and, through painting, he found an outlet for his creative expression. *

White left the Jervis Bay/St George’s Basin area in his late teens. He moved to Kangaroo Valley to undertake a chef’s apprenticeship. Afterwards, he was offered a position with an American chef and moved to Sydney’s Northern beaches where he was the sous chef at Jonah’s, a famous seafood restaurant at Whale Beach. *

Away from the constraining influences of his schooling years, and living in a more creative environment, White was able to explore and extend his artistic interests. White studied a Bachelor of Fine Art at The National Art School, Sydney, graduating in 2005. ** White was inspired to grow as an artist by dynamic teachers and other artists that he met in Sydney, including Aida Tomescu, Peter Godwin, Lynne Eastaway, Sidney Ball and Dick Watkins.

White was keen to travel beyond Australia and to develop his artistic skills further afield. After being shortlisted for several travelling scholarships in 2006, in 2007, he was the recipient of The Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship to the United States. He attended the Marathon Program in New York where he studied drawing with Graham Nixon for 10 to 12 hours a day. He remained in the US for a period after the program studying colour mixing and landscape and was the artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Centre in 2008.

White immigrated to France in 2009 when he was awarded The Storrier Onslow National Art School Paris Studio Award at La Cite Internationale Des Arts. White continued to base himself in Paris but has travelled widely as an artist. In 2010, he spent some time in Germany at The Leipzig International Art Programme Residency and, in 2017, he was selected to participate in the International Painting Symposium at The Mark Rothko Centre in Latvia. **

In 2020, White was the recipient of The Creative Arts Fellowship at the National Library of Australia (delayed to 2022, due to COVID restrictions on travel). This fellowship is to research the library’s archive material related to the Australian artist Sir Sidney Nolan (1917-1992). The research will inform a new body of work examining sovereign power, dissent, and the efficacity of civil disobedience. **

White currently lives in Paris, France with his wife. He continues to return to Australia and is looking forward to his time researching the influences behind Sidney Nolan’s Eureka Stockade work. *

White’s first solo exhibition, Diverse Places, was held at Marlene Antico Arts in Sydney in 2007. He then exhibited in Sydney at Rushcutters Bay Gallery in 2008 and at Iain Dawson Gallery in 2010 and 2011. Since then, he has exhibited widely in both solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia and in Paris, Latvia, Germany, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. ** White’s work Flight (After Exodus), a 2015 painting informed by themes of historical and contemporary developments in migration, was shortlisted in London’s Royal Academy Annual Summer Exhibition 2015.

White’s work has received support through cultural agencies such as The Trust Company Australia, The National Association for the Visual Arts and The Copyright Agency Limited.

White has been the recipient of many travelling scholarships and residencies, including The Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship (2007), and The Creative Art Fellowship at The National Library of Australia (2020). The work that he has produced as a result of these residencies has led to critical recognition in many of Australia’s national prizes. In 2005, White was awarded the Elioth Gruner Prize from the Art Gallery of New South Wales. White was a finalist for the Churchie Emerging Art Award in 2005 and in 2007, for The Paddington Art Prize three times in 2005, 2016 and 2017 and for The Glover Prize in both 2018 (Highly Commended) and 2021. **

White has been acknowledged in The Australia Financial Review, Art Collector Magazine Australia and, also, Elle Décor US edition.

White’s artistic work revolves around the notion of reclaiming the act of dissent through the production of cultural objects. His research is situated at the intersection of several fields in the social space including, politics, human rights, and postcolonialism. His practice is centered around concepts of design and its history as a form of social and political expression.

As Robert Maconachie comments: “In White’s socially engaged practice, nonrepresentational abstraction offers ‘a way out’ through embracing the Otherness of the non-image.” ***

White works with painting, drawing, collage, and printmaking. The references and the materials he utilises testify to his predisposition for modernist aesthetics. Through this practice, he tackles relevant questions to our time, to encourage emancipation and new ways of thinking.

White attributes his interest in emancipation and liberation as a reaction to the bullying he was subjected to as a teenager, the experience planting a seed in his formative years for his desire to be nonconformist and to rebel against oppression. White continues to express this rebellion through artistic form, as well as using art to inspire agitation against political repression. *

As White says, in relation to his 2022 solo exhibition, The Golden Door, in Fontainebleau, France: “I’m interested in sovereign power and the politics of Western Democracy, and ultimately the erosion of civil liberties.” ****

In relation to White’s upcoming research into the creation of Sidney Nolan’s the Eureka Stockade mural, commissioned by the Reserve Bank of Australia in 1966, White shares that: “The Nolan archive offers me the opportunity to reflect on an artist who was similarly drawn to painting notions of Australian national identity and who continued to do so during his working life in Europe. Nolan’s work represents his assertions on nationalism and national identity, and themes relating to civil disobedience and anti-colonialism these thematic concerns relate to my recent practice.” *****

White is also interested in the effects of climate change. In his works submitted as a finalist for the Glover prize 2021, White calls the viewer to action through his landscape works “concentrated on documenting the effect of the climate crisis on parts of my home country Australia … These paintings are a call to action to hold the government, accountable for the health of their citizens and to protect the local environment by refusing fossil fuel companies exploitation rights to the land and help safeguard our country from ecological collapse.” ******

White’s works are held in Collections including The Tweed Heads Regional Gallery in Australia, The Mark Rothko Art Center in Latvia and Soho House Permanent Collection in London as well as numerous private collections. **

* Interview with Anthony White, Emily Ballinger, 30 May 2022 ** Curriculum Vitae, About the Artist, Anthony White Art website *** Signs of Civilisation, Robert Maconachie, Sydney February 2018 **** Invitation to Anthony White: The Golden Door, Gallery Comairas -Ecole de Beaux Arts Fontainebleau France ***** Anthony White at The Rodd, Sidney Nolan Trust, Informality, 2020 ****** Federation Peak II 2020 commentary, Glover Prize exhibition 2021


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