Carl White grew up in England, frequenting institutions like the National Gallery and British Museum, which formed the foundation for his art practice. As a teenager, he embraced the rebellious attitudes of punk rock and skateboarding, which prompted his questioning of the “elitist traditions of the British Empire.” It is the collision of these two worlds which forms the basis of his current body of work.
Originating from Zen Buddhism, the term koan refers to a paradoxical anecdote or riddle used to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and provoke the "great doubt.” The act of painting for White is just that, a conundrum. To revere or revolt? He is constantly questioning of the value of art history and its relevance to contemporary culture, taking on dual roles of creator and destroyer to find balance and meaning in the “making and letting go of a thing.”
“In the way that the poet seeks to understand language with the goal of approaching the sublime, I have tried to understand painting with similar purpose. My work explores the philosophical questions of “the why” as it pertains to the greater context of art history, as well as painting’s relevance to contemporary culture.”