Sanderson presents the exhibition Salt, featuring the work of contemporary painter Freeman White.
White is one of New Zealand’s pre-eminent landscape painters. The artist’s works are known for their visceral effect; connecting the viewer to Aotearoa’s timeless and ever-changing beauty with a contemporary perspective.
Formerly focusing his practice on portraiture, White started his career as a prominent New Zealand portraitist winning first prize in the 2006 ADAM National Portrait Awards. This award gained White international recognition leading him to exhibit in the REAL international symposium for Figurative Art in Germany in 2007 and 2009. White consequently spent six months painting portraits in Edinburgh, by invitation of the Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
In 2009 the artist embarked on a transition to landscape painting, pushing the genre through both technique and context. The artist’s beautifully textured and layered brushstrokes give his canvases a charged energy whereby the viewer experiences the breath-taking and fluctuating vistas of the land.
White’s landscapes, and more recent seascapes, reference a history of art making while contributing to a wider contemporary dialogue. Nature becomes a politically and emotionally charged stage. While White is inspired by Aotearoa’s long landscape art history, his subject matter is also a modern account of the country’s environmental climate. The artist’s paintings act as a documentation and record of both the beauty of Aotearoa and the impact of civilisation on the land; a purposeful juxtaposition to the often Romantic and idealised versions that have been depicted throughout time.
White often paints ‘en plein air’, recording and reproducing what he sees in front of him onto the canvas. White reminds us, though, that “paint is not confined solely to being used for the reproduction of a scene; rather paint has its own, very real and physical qualities” and thus, it gives paintings “a human ability. They are imbued with human emotion – captured in every mark, in every brushstroke.”
White’s works are held in private and public collections including The Royal Society of New Zealand and the New Zealand Portrait Gallery.
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