BY PAUL LASTER OCTOBER 1, 2009 1:55 PM
Nearly everyone is inspired by music. We listen to it while we work, dine, and make love. Eric White has found a way to celebrate the sounds he treasures by re-imagining the album covers of his favorite rock and pop musicians, applying his pop-surrealist style of painting to such classic record covers as Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.
White’s LP show at Sloane Fine Art in New York features 24 paintings in an album-cover (12 x 12-inch) format. Although the record cover is the point of departure, the artist takes the opportunity to explore a variety of painting styles, puns, and parodies. Painted in oil on wood panels, White’s works resonate with wit while flaunting amazing artistic skills.
A classic Harry Belafonte album becomes a playground for pushing around paint: Belafonte’s smeared face is left with only one penetrating eye, while some overlaid Arabic text, painted like graffiti on the surface of the cover, makes one question the origin of the singer. The Who’s Who’s Next album is similarly brought into a contemporary context with the phrase “Who texted” becoming the title.
The Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits is humorously transformed into Bagels’ Greatest Pubic Tats; the faces of the members of The Knack look like they just hit warp speed, while the new title, Too Much Content, implies that these old albums would have to be trimmed down to make it in our quick read world; and Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats becomes a philosophical signboard for the simple phrase “Always have two cats.”
White paints his imaginary record collection with gusto. Brushstrokes are both realistically hidden and decoratively revealed. The white background of Black and White, which depicts the punk group The Stranglers, is rendered with a palette knife, while the background of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here is composed of hundreds of swirling brushstrokes.
A visually entertaining and thought-provoking show, LP whets one’s appetite for more of White’s innovative work.