Eric White: 1/3-Scale Retrospective

November 12 – December 13, 2015

Arts+Leisure is pleased to present Eric White’s 1/3-Scale Retrospective, an installation of miniature copies of the artist’s earlier works reproduced by Xiamen Unique Oil Painting Co., Ltd., in China.

White’s original paintings typically feature images drawn from cinema, especially 1940s Hollywood and new-noir films, which he gives a surrealistic and psychological twist. In LA Weekly, Peter Frank describes his paintings as "full of puzzled faces, double-images, anachronisms and attenuated unlikelihoods...its wooziness enhanced with bilious colors, weird superimpositions, and a tendency to render everything a little bit wobbly and elongated—El Greco goes suburban." The recreations of these works manufactured by Xiamen Unique Oil Painting Co., Ltd. appear at first glance faithful copies. However, closer inspection reveals small errors, raising questions about authorship and the proliferation of knock-off goods. 

In the LA Times, Leah Ollman draws a comparison between 1/3-Scale Retrospective and the Dadaist practice, stating that the works are “[h]ilarity, parody and reverence perfectly packaged […] as commentary on authorship, outsourcing, Chinese exports, and a contemporary, politicized riposte to Duchamp’s ‘Boite-en-Valise’”—above all, emphasizing that White’s work exudes a distinctive and “devilish sense of humor”.

Eric White (b. Ann Arbor, MI 1968) is a visual artist currently based in New York and Los Angeles. He received a BFA degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1990 and served as an adjunct professor at The School of Visual Arts in New York City. In 2010, The New York Foundation for the Arts awarded White a Painting Fellowship. In 2015, a comprehensive monograph of his work was published by Rizzoli New York. His work has been shown extensively across the United States and Europe.

Please join us for an artist reception on Thursday, November 12th from 7-10 PM. Refreshments will be served. The exhibition will be accompanied by a small artist’s book of the same title, designed by Ninze Chen, available for sale. For further information please contact Nick Lawrence at or at 212-828-5700. 


11/04/2015 - 30/05/2015


D+T Project is thrilled to present another thematic exhibition curated by Alexandre Daletchine that includes artists whose practice spreads through a variety of media.

Sounds like Music brings together artists from around the world with specific interests looming large towards music and sound in a broader sense. Based on word play, the exhibition explores hearing – one of the basic modes of perception and knowledge of the outside world. The project examines the way one can think of music, rhythm or sound within the field of contemporary art practice and visual language.

Taking on significance that moves well beyond the rudimentary allusion to music, the artworks, produced by a cross-generational selection of artists, are following various creative strategies within some specific modes of production. While certain works clearly refer to drawing, painting, poetry, printed image, sculpture, movie, theatre, ready-made and contemporary technology, the show also features suggestions to the tradition of artists who design album covers, references to abstract sounds and/or absence of it, which often relate to the investigations of Johan Cage, but also includes repetitions as mainly used by New Realists, etc.

 Eric White,  The Köln Concert , 2011,  Rocky , 2009,  Apocalypse Now , 2012

Eric White, The Köln Concert, 2011, Rocky, 2009, Apocalypse Now, 2012

 Oliver Beer,  Perfect Fourth , 2015 - Sarah & Charles,  Sounds , 2013

Oliver Beer, Perfect Fourth, 2015 - Sarah & Charles, Sounds, 2013

 Haroon Mirza,  Radio Shacked Up , 2012

Haroon Mirza, Radio Shacked Up, 2012

 Haroon Mirza,  Radio Shacked Up,  2012 - Hannu Prinz,  The End of Silence , 2014

Haroon Mirza, Radio Shacked Up, 2012 - Hannu Prinz, The End of Silence, 2014

 Celeste Boursier-Mougenot,  Mémoire 1 , 2014

Celeste Boursier-Mougenot, Mémoire 1, 2014


Proud to be included in Gallery Poulsen's booth at Pulse Miami Beach, voted one of the top five booths to look forward to by New York Observer. Also on view are works by Aaron Johnson, Jean-Pierre Roy and Barnaby Whitfield.

Alanna Martinez writes,

This year Pulse Miami Beach celebrates its tenth anniversary with a new location at Indian Beach Park, and an exhibitor list of over 60 galleries and 160 artists. The fair will run December 4 through 7, and is split into several sections that include Impulse (spotlighting emerging galleries), Projects (large-scale installations, sculptures, and performances), and Points (alternative gallery models and non-profit spaces), in addition to a varied list international galleries that make up the main exhibitor section. The prospect of selecting five standout booths to highlight is a daunting challenge—especially with so many exhibitors previewing work from the fair on Artsy—but nonetheless, here are the galleries we’re looking forward to seeing most at Pulse’s tent this week.

Gallery Poulsen, Copenhagen (Booth D5)
The gallery is located in Denmark, but it will be showing a quartet of American artists at Pulse Miami Beach. Aaron Johnson’s psychosexual, character-filled compositions are recognizable for their bright colors, nightmarish subjects, and encyclopedic cultural references. Barnaby Whitfield’s pastels on paper stay within the same vivid color spectrum of Mr. Johnson’s work, but take a giant step toward figurative realism and a leap into Surrealist territory—with an emphasis on the erotic. Jean-Pierre Roy and Eric White’s oil paintings tackle film genres like science fiction, and noir; Mr. White collaging Hollywood close-ups from the view of the front seat of a car, and Mr. Roy playing with scale, landscape, and alternate dimensions, often through self portraits.

See the other top five here. Thank you Alanna and New York Observer!

LONG BEACH POST "14 Paintings That Will Leave You Speechless"

Asia Morris at Long Beach Post wrote "The Long Beach Museum of Art Announces New Exhibition, 14 Paintings That Will Leave You Speechless," an exhibition that includes Eric's PENTAPLEX: Coming Attractions (2013).

The artists featured in Masterworks are from diverse backgrounds; each painting of the 14 featured works reflects upon a broad spectrum of genres, scenes and movements. The entire exhibition asks what a decade means to an artist, summarized in the thoughts, theories and personalities each painter brings to their culminating work. Substantive objects are placed within fantastical, dream-like scenes, conventional pictorial environments are disrupted with the artist’s surrealist narrative. The paintings in Masterworks drift between fantasy and reality in a world where the artists are heavily influenced by the oftentimes overwhelming availability of information from today’s online society. Each painting represents a decade of dedication, creative expertise and stands as the product of a career’s worth of grueling work and artistic excellence.

“In the Museum’s 60-plus years of collecting and exhibiting art by contemporary artists, its relationship with them has been one of collaboration and respect,” said Ron Nelson in a statement, executive director of the Long Beach Museum of Art. “This exhibition is another example of that respectful relationship. The genesis of this exhibition came about in conversations with artists about their work and responses to today’s cultural environment, which is increasingly filled and stimulated with images due to our 24/7 online society.”

Open Thursday 11AM to 8PM and Friday – Sunday 11AM to 5PM
Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for students and seniors age 62 and older, free for Members and children under 12, and free for everyone on Thursday evenings from 5PM to 8PM, and all day on Fridays.


Thank you Asia and Long Beach Post!


DOWN IN FRONT Exhibition

We are pleased to announce Eric's next solo exhibition DOWN IN FRONT at Antonio Colombo in Milan. Join us for the opening on September 25 from 6:30 to 9pm.

 detail -  Down in Front,  2014

detail - Down in Front, 2014

Down in Front
25 September - 8 November 2014
Antonio Colombo
Via Solferino 44
Milano 20121


Eric Firestone Gallery and The Hole are pleased to announce:

Storage Wars
August 9th - September 7th
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 9th, 2014 | 6-9 PM

Eric Firestone Gallery
4 Newtown Lane
East Hampton, NY 11927

  Eric White • 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL (Annie Hall) • 2011 • oil on canvas • 48 x 48 inches 

Eric White • 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL (Annie Hall) • 2011 • oil on canvas • 48 x 48 inches 

Storage Wars examines the fundamental reality that much contemporary art resides in a crate or wrapped in plastic. Aside from the relatively brief period of its presentation in a white gallery, the lifespan of the artwork is dominated by languishing in storage between exhibitions. Galleries, and increasingly collectors, have extensive storage spaces packed with artworks. In an effort to reveal the previously unseen or briefly seen artworks in our inventories, Eric Firestone Gallery and The Hole will present a selection of this cache "as is." The gallery will be stacked with crates opened to reveal their previously secreted away contents.

Visiting Storage Wars will be like getting a private tour of the galleries' storages. It will include new works just arrived from overseas that will get to breathe for the first time alongside works perhaps forgotten in the galleries' archive and pulled out for a fresh start, underground artists, chance secondary market works and a few surprises.

Relational aesthetics dictates awareness of the socio-cultural forces that inform one's experience of art, this show intentionally exposes the art as objects whose lives dictate that they must be wrapped, crated, shipped and stored prior to exhibition then often sent right back into storage. If a gallery is a white box, where for a brief moment artworks are liberated from the confines of wooden crates to be shown for a month or so only to be packed away again, we seek to highlight this moment in the spotlight by literalizing the exchange of goods from within the exhibition space itself. At the same time, the beauty of the artworks will transcend this raw un-filtered presentation; the works appear as objects whose potential beckons, full of excitement to be liberated from their crates and resume their lives on walls beneath the admiring gaze of viewers.


Eric will be participating in Gallery Poulsen's summer group show HEAT! The press release and exhibition info is below:

Detective Casals: “You recognize the MO (Modus Operandi)?”
Vincent Hanna aka Al Pacino: “MO? Is that they're good...”

Inspired by the quote above from the movie HEAT we hereby invite you to the yearly tradition in Gallery Poulsen – The Summer Show presenting the best of this year's invited gallery artists. There is much to look forward to as the artists yet again have made masterpieces in painting, drawing and sculpture. And yes, they're good! 

It is with a distinct pleasure and pride that we welcome William Powhida as the latest Gallery Poulsen artist from New York. We exhibited him in the anniversary exhibition in November and previously he exhibited with Jade Townsend in ”Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes”. Powhida will present his first solo show in the gallery in late February 2015.

William Powhida, born 1976, was previously an art critic in New York and his works are lists, maps and diagrams illustrating the power structures of the art world, that he himself is a part of. His artworks are meticulously crafted and he has no problem exposing the power structures of the art world. Powhida's CV is impressive and his solo exhibitions have been reviewed several times in The New York Times. Powhida will contribute with three new works for this show and it is not bedtime reading! 

As the only Dane in the gallery, an immense pressure rests on Jacob Dahlstrup's shoulders. However, he easily matches the standard set by his American colleagues in the gallery. A standard that would make most artists shiver. Artwork after artwork, Jacob Dahlstrup dazzles and amazes with works mostly in graphite. Dahlstrup's talent is nothing less than impressive which his latest exhibition activity emphasizes. Dahlstrup is currently exhibiting in Tattoo at Brandts Art Museum in Odense and was mentioned by The Culture Trip as one out of the ten most important artists on the Danish art scene in the company of Jesper Just and Olafur Eliasson. We are looking forward to his first solo exhibition in the gallery in January 2015.

Jean-Pierre Roy whose solo exhibition was a great success in February has been working on two large paintings since his return to New York. The motives in these are in succession to his exhibition ”The New Me is Already Old”. The visitors who didn't have the chance to see his masterpieces in his exhibition, will here get the opportunity to see two of the rare artworks leaving Roy's studio in New York. Another artist with few available works is Eric White. It is a rare opportunity for us to present a new and large work from him. White, who as Roy works in oil, is inspired by the parallel universe of film. White will have his solo show in the spring of 2016.

Barnaby Whitfield, The Master of Pastel, has now explored black and white portraits. The results are striking and once again proof that his natural talent is transcendent. Also new works by Aaron Johnson will be exhibited, created in the traditional 'reversed painting' style where he excels. Alfred Steiner has extended his body of work and contributes for the first time in Denmark with a new oil piece where he uses a three dimensional laser cut sculpture as his canvas. 

HEAT - New Art for the Summer 2014
Jacob Dahlstrup (DK), Aaron Johnson (US), William Powhida (US), Jean-Pierre Roy (US), Alfred Steiner (US), Eric White (US), Barnaby Whitfield (US)

Opening Friday June 13th from 4 - 6 pm
The show runs until July 5th

SPEAR'S Article

Anthony Haden-Guest for Spear's

The irony of Pop art's anti-consumerist mass market appeal:

The influence of Warhol, Lichtenstein et al is evident in their successors' work -- but as the commercial world they sent up has evolved, a new take on Pop art has emerged, says Anthony Haden-Guest


Most of the art world's '-isms' began as gangs. Or perhaps cults. The Impressionists were the proud rejects: the Salon des Refusés! Picasso and Braque explored Cubism 'roped together like mountaineers', in Braque's famous words. Dada had a clubhouse (the Cabaret Voltaire) and hardcore Dadaists like Richard Huelsenbeck snubbed their successors, the Surrealists.

The Surrealists' leader, André Breton, routinely 'deep-sixed' followers who got out of line. The Abstract Expressionists flexed throats and muscles at the Eighth Street Club and the Cedar Tavern. I could go on.

Then there was Pop.

The artists who would be enlisted as Pop, both in the US and Europe, shared such characteristics as a distaste for the Sturm und Drang of the Ab Exes and a taste for throwaway culture, but they were less a gang than a sensibility. Abstract Expressionism would prove as short-lived as jazz, becoming posh décor in the hands of the next generation, but the grip of Pop, both on the culture and the marketplace, has, if anything, tightened. Great? No.

There's a downside, like admen ripping off Roy Lichtenstein, oblivious to the ironies, and a tsunami of galleries flogging sub-Warholesque kitsch. Pop artists thrillingly channelled the environment and so does this stuff, but the environment it channels is... Pop art itself. Usually Warhol. How many Marilyn hairdos affixed to Bernie Madoff or Julian Assange do we need to see?

There's an upside, though. Pop artists' sources were the postwar consumerist culture they had grown up with and saw around them -- comic books, grungy TV, tabloids, cheesy ads, Hollywood. Yes, Low Culture. So Pop art thrummed with exuberance, but for art world cognoscenti it was also a kind of delicious slumming.

Well, that material environment has evolved. Thanks to chi-chi branding, saturation marketing, social media and so on, most of us at whatever level live in a Pop world these days. You would expect artists to be exploring this territory, and you would be right. But, just like the Pop originals, they are less a gang than a sensibility and it is interesting that many of them began outside the mainstream gallery world. In a nod to Popism, Warhol's swell book, let's call it 'PostPopism'.

White mischief

Eric White, who is from Michigan, studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design, then moved to California. 'I was doing pretty well,' he says. 'But I got bored really quickly. And I started to have these ideas that I couldn't express through that.' This wasn't that long ago, but it was pre-internet, so in terms of info it was another age. White saw paintings by Ashley Bickerton in New York, and a reproduction of Peter Blake's On the Balcony. 'That changed my life,' he says. 'I began doing my own stuff on the side.'

White moved to New York and his stuff became quite strange, often with a narrative dimension, such as his movie ads. 'They are for invented movies that are loosely based on mythological events or bizarre curatorial ideas,' he says. 'I read about this guy that has a theory that the moon is actually a solid object, and that when struck by something it rings like a bell. And that was enough for me to take off on a painting, since that idea is so insane.'

Some of the paintings include the word 'Vril'. This denotes an energy form in The Coming Race, the 1871 novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, that was taken for raw truth by the Nazis as the Scientologists took L Ron Hubbard. 'I read about it a few years ago and it's been in my mind ever since,' White says. 'There's something called the Vril Society. And there were these five women who were Hitler's psychics. They were working on UFO technology. Anything insane like that is really exciting to me.'

Jordan Doner was a successful commercial photographer for various Bazaars, Vogues and the chunky glossies, which have become as much part of Pop culture these days as superhero franchises and branded tattoos. 'But I was always working on ideas that weren't commercial photography,' he says.

In the autumn of 2009 Doner began creating photographic Utopias. Dream lives, barely imaginable pleasures, indeed just the kind of sensual continuum you can enter when you leaf through a glossy magazine. It was while he was researching ways of depicting these that Doner watched Michelangelo Antonioni's only America-based movie, Zabriskie Point. 'There's a love scene in the desert where intertwined couples roll naked down the dunes, kicking up dust into the desert sun,' he says.

But just as in the real world, the road from Utopia to Dystopia was a hop, skip and jump. At the end of Zabriskie Point, the fancy house explodes, at least in the imagination, and consumer items are blown sky-high. This led Doner into the world of high-end branding, and the result has been super-sharp photographs showing fragments of high-end consumer items mid-detonation, such as Louis Vuitton bags designed by Murakami and Richard Prince. The technicians who exploded the luxe were Grucci, the firework maestros who will be executing the follow-up.

'I'll be shooting films,' Doner says. 'Each explosion will be 45 seconds to a minute and a half. You'll really see the stuff coming apart; you'll really see the debris hanging in space.' Where will the shoot be? 'I want to get as close as I can to Zabriskie Point.'

Poster boy

Greg Miller, who had a show of his mixed-media paintings in the Scream Gallery in London last year, works in studios in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, and will soon also be in Springs, Long Island, but he grew up in northern California.

Miller notes: 'I didn't go to Venice, Italy, to entrench myself in ancient frescoes.' What he absorbed was today's fresco equivalents: billboards. So, of course, did Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, Warhol -- but whereas the Popsters had a cool, deadpan take on such material, Miller is a romantic.

'The billboards were all ripped and really blowing in the wind. When I would see them I would get a sense of time, history. Much of the language and imagery was commercial -- Hires root beer, Coca-Cola -- but they were kind of abstract too. And in the background there was this vast landscape of powder blue and sandy light mountains. I had this love affair with it as I sat in the back of my dad's Jeep. And the images did haunt me -- they still do.'

That became a source of Miller's strength. 'I have always liked to paint. I really wanted to document that language and that imagery and then add to it with other things I found on the street. Little pieces I have found and collected. They are part of the romantic story I tell in the context of each painting.'

Deconsumptionism, the current project of Paul Lamarre and Melissa Wolf, a New York duo who operate as Eidia, is housed in a 48ft tractor-semi-trailer, parked in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 'We collect objects,' says Lamarre. The collections are archived in 171 boxes, wrapped in hazard-orange plastic, and when they go on show they are exhibited both as is and grouped in a still-life photograph. Which objects? Well, key to the development of the concept was their collection of plastic bags.

Yes, like supermarket bags.

'We chose bags that we felt were interesting,' Wolf says. 'We did laser Xeroxes of them and made installation pieces.'

'In Torino, Italy, it was on the floor,' Lamarre says. 'It was on the wall in Tubingen, Germany.'

In what sense 'interesting', I asked. 'In Eastern Europe in the early Nineties, bags were decorative because they were meant to be used over and over,' said Wolf. 'Not like America, where they are just thrown away.'

'Do we really need to produce more stuff?' asked Lamarre. 'Do we need more plastic bags? And what happens to what we do produce? The design of today is the landfill of tomorrow.'

Commercial eye

So to another Greg (just add a G). Gregg LeFevre, a Boston artist, moved into public art because of a distaste for the way the art world works. 'If you really make it in the gallery world your art ends up in a bank vault. I wanted my work to be seen,' he says. It was while he was installing his sculptures downtown in various cities that he noticed how the cityscapes were changing.

'It was at the very beginning of this new movement in advertising when they developed the ability to stretch vinyl and canvas over any surface,' he says. 'They were using big prints, photographs. Now they have stuff glued in the street, they have stuff on cabs, ads are everywhere. And that really changed the urban landscape.'

LeFevre began shooting pictures out of his pilot mother's plane as a little boy. He began to document these changes. 'When an ad is in a magazine or in a newspaper or on television it keeps its integrity,' he says. 'But when you put an ad, a three-dimensional object, in public, even though it's an eighth of an inch, things happen to it. People attack it, they deface it, dogs piss on it. It's an object in space.'

LeFevre is now coming to terms with the way the art world works. Last reached, he was at a show of his work in Beijing.


By Shana Nys Dambrot

"California lost Eric White to the bright lights and big city lure of New York several years ago, but there’s something about the things he paints and the way he paints them that will always be West-Side. In his impossibly tight and preternaturally crisp renderings, he is not afraid to use the tricks of advanced graphic design and legitimate realism skills -- or to exude his love of cheeky, retro-flair pop culture, especially film and music -- especially noir, sci-fi, mid-century rom-com, schmaltzy rock, and postmodern soul.

"The gallery’s project room  was dedicated to a mini-survey (literally) of White’s most iconic and popular paintings, White hired Xiamen Unique Oil Painting Co Ltd. in China to paint 1/3 scale oil replicas of these works. The group of 14 canvases was installed at knee-height; and while it may or may not have been conceived in humor, the truth is that it was a really helpful exercise, doing the job of presenting the story of an evolution in his content and style that eventually resulted in the new works installed at full (and impressively large) scale in the main gallery. The first thing by contrast that you notice in the new is that the percentage of “real” in White’s brand of surreal -- that is, the ratio of reality to fantasy -- has shifted dramatically toward the real. Actually that’s not quite right; it’s more that the way people and objects look in the new work is increasingly normative in appearance, yet more fictionalized in its content. Previous work often depicted recognizable scenes with extreme mannerism and interference patterns; now White’s sensibility reads more like satire or fan-fiction. He interprets cultural archetypes with a passionate mimicry, both honoring and subverting the cultural paradigms by replacing the contents of his perfect forms with new, tweaked narratives.

"The syntax and handwriting (heck, just the fact of hand-written letters) in Rom Com (2013, oil on canvas, 96 x 42 inches) invoke a bygone era of flirty missives; the language is deliberately obscure and ambiguous. “Jim -- Sorry I missed your call. It was swell hearing from you. I will merge into you at 7:30. -- Fran.” In Mommie Issues 2: The Reckoning (2013, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches), the magazine ads in the open issue on the desk in the foreground, where a man’s hand doodles on top of a Mad Men dream of sexy appliances, look right at first glance and fall apart on inspection. The intrigue of sorting them out is almost enough to distract from the naked pubis of a woman on the other side of the broad wooden desk. She in turn is almost enough to distract from the wide shot of the image, when it’s revealed within the composition that this scene is on a movie screen, in a darkened theater, in whose back rows the viewer has been seated -- and is either next to or themselves engaged in the act of texting from his seat. Another movie-theatre work is PENTAPLEX Coming Attractions (2013, oil on canvas, 84 x 144 inches), in which three screens play trailers for bizarro-world science fiction (one in black and white) within a panopticon theater space that makes gorgeous architectural poetry but would be chaos to experience.

"In The Lobby (2013, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches) White presents a cropped view of walls decorated with dozens of movie posters, each one its own masterpiece of invented titles and imagery - these movies never happened ouside of White's imagination. The meaning and emotional effect of these imagined movie posters depend on the flawless execution of the look, because that lays the foundation for the flair and the funny. Too intense to just be a joke, humor is still a huge part of the appeal of work like this. Like the trick of writing the perfect pop song or B-movie, the idea is to create something familiar enough to hook audiences straight off, but strange enough to be fresh, and radical enough to be memorable."

See the original post here! Thanks Shana!


By Mariana Barroso

"Con sede en Nueva York, el artista visual Eric White asombra a propios y extraños con sus pinturas figurativas, su técnica cuidadosamente ejecutada revela  influencias del tradicional surrealismo , el neo-realismo y conceptualismo que plasman “momentos cinematográficos”, landscapes que emulan estar dentro de la escena de alguna película.

Aclamada por los expertos del mundo entero, la obra de White ha sido presentada en exposiciones colectivas, en espacios internacionales sin fines de lucro, como el Museo de Arte Laguna, Museo de la Ciudad de México, MACRO (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma), el visionario American Museum in Baltimore y el Museo de Arte de Long Beach, entre otros; también ha trabajado en el arte de algunos álbumes musicales..."


Read the entire article here! Thanks Mariana!


Eric was asked to be a part of The Figure: Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture, a contemporary figurative art book to be released this fall and it is finally available for pre-order here

"This book is a celebration of figurative art, essential to those interested in both traditional techniques and the latest developments in the art of the figure. An expansive survey of contemporary figurative art, The Figure showcases work by acclaimed artists including Jenny Saville, Eric Fischl, and Will Cotton alongside emerging talents. Artists’ texts and essays by distinguished critics, writers, and thinkers chart the evolution of figurative techniques, from the atelier to the use of photography, Photoshop, and 3D-modeling programs..."


Thank you to the editor Margaret McCann for the inclusion! 


Review: Filmic follies from Eric White at Martha Otero

By Leah Ollman

Eric White is a bit of a vandal, or better yet, a misappropriationist. He traffics in the tropes of cinema, capitalizing on the familiar appeal of movie theaters, screen shots, intertitles and lobby cards, warping them to amusing and disconcerting effect.

In "Pentaplex Coming Attractions," he visualizes the five-screen theater as a single absurd and strangely authoritarian space with seats in the center and projections on all sides, perfect for brainwashing through hyperstimulation.

In "Rom Com," he zooms in on hands holding notes, telegrams, mug shots and business cards. The style is decidedly retro (all is painted in black and white; the notes handwritten in classic cursive), but the words are subversively contemporary.

He pays homage to the lobby card in another piece, painting walls full of time and genre-bending titles, such as "Too Many Hensons," starring Jim, the puppet-meister, and Matthew, the Arctic explorer and "I Was a Teenage Microwave Nacho Chef." Hilarity, parody and reverence perfectly packaged.

The paintings and drawings strike a resonant chord -- nostalgic and at the same time also vaguely futuristic, even dystopian. White, based in New York, has a devilish sense of humor. It can be barbed but also thin.

For the installation, "1/3-Scale Retrospective," he commissioned a Chinese enterprise to create miniature versions of 14 of his paintings, which he hung knee-high, with tiny labels. The work elicits only a one-liner laugh, in spite of its greater potential as commentary on authorship, outsourcing, Chinese exports, and a contemporary, politicized riposte to Duchamp's "Boite-en-Valise."