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Pentimento Anthony White

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Tanglewood I, oil on linen, 96 x 96 cm


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Secret Histories Words by Ashley Crawford

1214 High Street Armadale 3143 VICTORIA Australia

It seems apt that Anthony White’s potent new body of works were executed in Paris. The City of Light is, after all, home to a culture fascinated with diverse forms of human expression. This is evidenced from Picasso’s early love affair with African sculpture through to the more recent establishment of The Musée du quai Branly with its cornucopia of indigenous imagery.

Email: enquiries@metrogallery.com.au Phone: +61 3 9500 8511 Website: metrogallery.com.au

The Musée du quai Branly is particularly noteworthy for its goldmine of Australian Indigenous art. Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, Billy Stockman Tjapaltjarri, Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra, Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa and Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri amongst others grace its walls. This is worth mentioning because White, although by now clearly recognised as an international artist and based in France, was born in Australia, and contemplating these works, with their chalky whites and intense ochres, it is not hard to recall the tribal markings of the Pitjantjara or the Yirridjdja. And although he is known as an abstractionist, it is also not hard to re-read these works as landscape – the deep, gloomy eucalypt forests that dominate parts of Arnhem Land. White may be uncomfortable with this perhaps fanciful reading. But this series is, after all, titled after the Italian term Pentimento. This phrase, which is used to describe layerings, additions or changes to a work of art, allows multitudinous readings, different layers as one descends through White’s palimpsest of forms and colours. However pentimento can also be translated as repentance, which suggests atonement or remorse. In 2009, White immigrated to France after being awarded a studio at La Cite Internationale Des Arts. Is Pentimento, then, a form of atonement for having left his native country, a gift from afar to compensate for his departure from Australia?

Design: T-world Printed in Melbourne, Australia (2015) All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any other information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the producers. © Anthony White (Artwork) © Metro Gallery 978-1-921618-38-3

Cover Image: Flight, oil on linen, 121 x 106 cm

Rather than Australian indigenous art, White is more accustomed to comparisons with the abstractionists of the New York School of the 1950s, Kurt Schwitters or Robert Rauchenberg’s Combines. The artist himself suggests the French affichistes artist Jacques Villegle who, alongside fellow artist Raymond Hains, created magical collages via torn metro and street posters, creating poetical compositions that embraced elements of the alphabet, photography and design. It is not difficult to see Villegle’s influence on White. Although distinctly painterly, one can see the suggestions of torn edges, of strange depths as though other narratives reside beneath the immediate surface. Like the hidden Egyptian hieroglyphs obscured by palimpsests of ‘new’ information, White creates a world of textures, his own secret histories which allow hours of contemplation, translation and interpretation.


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Pala, oil on linen, 150 x 120 cm

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Proxy, oil on linen, 150 x 120 cm


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Antibes, oil on linen, 150 x 120 cm

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Downtown, oil on linen, 150 x 120 cm


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Tanglewood II, oil on linen, 96 x 96 cm

Tanglewood I, oil on linen, 96 x 96 cm

Field Painting, oil on linen, 150 x 120 cm


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Flight, oil on linen, 121 x 106 cm

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Restraint, oil on linen, 150 x 120 cm


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Feu, oil on linen, 70 x 70 cm

Incendiary, oil on linen, 70 x 70 cm

Arboretum, oil on linen, 150 x 120 cm


1214 High Street, Armadale 3143, VICTORIA, Australia Email: enquiries@metrogallery.com.au | Phone: +61 3 9500 8511

M E T R O G A L L E R Y. C O M . A U

Profile for Anthony White

Metrogallery anthonywhite pentimento catalogue  

Catalogue Publication from the solo show of Australian artist Anthony White. The first solo exhibition presented by Metro Gallery of the Par...

Metrogallery anthonywhite pentimento catalogue  

Catalogue Publication from the solo show of Australian artist Anthony White. The first solo exhibition presented by Metro Gallery of the Par...

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