upstairs: Roger White

November 13, 2020 - January 30, 2021

Press Release

upstairs: Roger White
November 13, 2020 - January 30, 2021
Rachel Uffner Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by artist and writer Roger White, marking his fourth solo show with the gallery. This body of work — which includes imagery ranging from colorful text, to office calendars, to plastic containers — meets viewers with a series of visual and conceptual vantages through which they may consider their own current circumstances in relationship to the passing of time.
White’s paintings signal to the abundance of patterns that help categorize and structure our daily existence. The flip-up calendar, for example, with often arbitrary pictures assigned to accompany each month, is an iconic marker of time. However, the process of making a calendar, far before it is ready to be used, involves speculating on the future — determining an altered, unpredictable reality. White’s decision to include dates such as “August 2038” and “February 2086” in these works against picture planes of abstract gestures, foregrounds the absurdity in attempting to predict anything so far ahead in time, and further, to assign aesthetic determinations.
Through the container paintings, which were rendered from observation (rather than from photographs), White considers the capacity for all objects to function as meaningful records of time. Viewers are prompted to reflect on the time and labor involved in producing the PET container as well as the artist’s reproduction of the object — neither of which amount to anywhere near the total lifespan of the plastic object.
The text paintings, such as No, Dark, and New, similarly illustrate White’s fascination with patterns and their relationship to history. Considering tendencies to demarcate and categorize artistic movements and musical genres, as exemplified in the 20th and 21st century, these paintings capture the cyclicality of both the embrace of and resistance to boundaries and identifiers on a societal level.


Additional works consider loss of context inherent to the internet, as well as cell phone games which claim ‘soothing’ as a genre, offering users the opportunity to sculpt virtual pots and vases. White contemplates the otherworldly beauty of the CGI colors while also thinking about the under-examined relationship between art and coping mechanisms.
“I think [the paintings are] about a relationship between two things: the immediate details of everyday life, the minutiae of schedules and repetitions; and the endless expanse of future time, which we’re increasingly averse to contemplating. The future is (to say the least) difficult to imagine right now: our models either don’t seem to predict very well, or what they predict is very, very bad. Perhaps the paintings are an effort to help the viewer (and me) imaginatively project a possible everyday onto an unimaginable future. That way, we’re better suited to act with compassion and courage to make this future somewhat better.” - Roger White
Roger White (b. 1976, Salem, OR) earned a BA from Yale University, New Haven, CT and an MFA from Columbia University, New York, NY. White has been featured in exhibitions at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY; the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art, Portland, ME; Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC; Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, MA; and Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, TX; among many others. The artist, in collaboration with Dushko Petrovich, was included in the 2013 deCordova Biennial at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA. He is the co- founder of the contemporary art journal and publishing imprint Paper Monument and is also the author of The Contemporaries, published by Bloomsbury in 2015. White is included in permanent collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; and The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Chicago, IL. White is also represented by Grice Bench, Los Angeles, and LABOR, Mexico City, and lives and works in Vermont.


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