DARIN M. WHITE:
A Solo Exhibition
Soapbox Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, April 13-26th, 2012
SUA Union Gallery, Kansas University Memorial Unions,
Lawrence, Kansas, September 10th-October 6th, 2012
I first met Darin White in my studio for a curatorial visit where he was choosing work for an exhibition
in Kansas City. I had never met him before, but instantly I knew he was both a genuine person as well
as being intuitive and sensitive with concerns to both asking questions and in listening to what I had to
say about my own artist practice. I did not know ahead of time that he was considering my work for the Cara and Cabeza Contemporary show in KC, only that he went to KU, was a Visual Art alum, and was an artist and art enthusiast.
Through the planning for the Cara and Cabeza Contemporary exhibition I learned more about Darin
and his artistic practice. My first visit to his studio proved to be very exciting! There was so much to see and talk about, it felt as though we would never have enough time to discuss everything and touch upon every little detail. Believe me, I wanted to. Artists are always inspired by other artists who go in depth when it involves their studio, their tools, the layout, the work, the process. You name it, we love to talk about it.
It seemed only natural that when developing the concept for an KU Alumni Visiting Artist Exhibition in
the SUA Gallery inside the Memorial Unions Building on Campus that Darin White should be the first
artist in this exhibition series. I had seen his drive and determination in developing a Kickstarter in order to have a solo show, OVERFLOW in NYC. I was impressed with both how hard he worked and then with how well considered his show was when installed. So in offering Darin a solo exhibition in the SUA Union Gallery, I presented it as having his New York show here at home. Home being both Lawrence, where Darin lives with his wife Shannon and their daughters Noel and Claire. And art in the White household is truly a family affair.
The SUA Union Gallery and the Memorial Unions welcomes Darin White with an open heart and an open mind. Thank you for taking the time to consider Darin’s work installed in the gallery.
Memorial Unions Curator
SEEDS FOR REFLECTION
For those of us who like our epic quotes, you have heard this one before: “What good is it if you gain the whole world, but lose your soul?” That is a close paraphrase fished out of the Bible, spoken by Jesus. The pointed question echoes a proverbial human drama, if there is one; but have we considered its hypothetical inverse? What good would it be if we have our souls, then lose the whole world?
I would guess that Darin White, in the exhibition OVERFLOW, had considered that dilemma before. So let’s say you choose personal integrity and retain that inner consciousness, but then still watch your material universe (presumably as precious) slip away? In the text accompanying the exhibition, he initiates his version of the question, asking you and me: “What will you do with what we are given?”
The artist told me he does not care for political enmeshment, but OVERFLOW is after all a show traveling from a Brooklyn, New York gallery called Soapbox to a space called Union Gallery at Kansas University (And I as essayist have just newly returned to the Los Angeles area). Notice that the artist’s question, consciously or subconsciously formed, addresses “you” while acknowledging a collective “we”. Sounds like Kennedy’s Camelot speech. Not to get bogged down with American politics of current election-season 2012, one cannot help but consider the ideological tug-of-war between shared or individual powers, what is inherited and what is earned, the rhetorics between “you didn’t build that” and “the achievement of the individual." Art world gatekeepers-- art dealers to art academics-- speak about the “timeliness” of consequential artmaking, and I’d say the contents of OVERFLOW are pretty darn timely.
What we are given here: choices, self-conscious souls, material goods, an American two-party system, a big nation where we are allowed to ask big, philosophical questions out loud and to one another. But allow me to touch upon a few points on what we are given, in the more concrete ways we as gallery goers can see, smell, touch (at least with creative imaginations).
What provokes us in OVERFLOW is a once-living black bear, with arms roughly forming a heart-shaped void.A real bear hug to the usual living-room trophies of fierce teeth and outstretched claws typical of Americana.This bear seemingly presides over a wooden structure which in turn sits atop a large pool of corn seeds. In White’s written text, his subjects of “farmland, barns and brimming silos” are invoked more as dreamy state and visionary condition than simple nostalgic sentimentality; we are living at a time not only of nationwiderecession and serious natural droughts. In fact, a material crisis is shared, if not eclipsed, by the wider economic shakeup of European and Japanese powerhouses. Timely? Look up what hot-blooded Italians did with Arte Povera (literally “Poor Art”) during the 1960s, in a time of too-cool American minimalism.
As he composed this installation between Overflow and Bear Heart, did Darin White realize how un-
settling OVERFLOW is as a show? Did he ever think “bear market”, as we like to call cycles of down-
turn? Did he consider the ironic contrast of connotations in “Over” versus “Flow”? Here is another fact,
this one about those copper etchings, available to anyone who can look up “copper” in Wikipedia.
com: “Copper has been in use at least 10,000 years, but more than 95% of all copper ever mined and
smelted has been extracted since 1900.” And here I thought quoting Jesus would be controversial.
Samuel W. Kho
Curator, Los Angles and New York