It’s tough to take on the subject of endangered species without tipping into cliche, sentimentality and/or emotional blackmail but painter Dave White has brought a fresh, vibrant voice to this tricky topic with his new show in London.
Natural Selection brings together watercolours, oil paintings and prints of animals which could be wiped off the planet unless action is taken and Dave believes it’s very much a case of not knowing what we’ve got until it’s gone. He doesn’t try to pull on the heart strings, rather his work showcases the visceral power, beauty and irreplaceable wonder of tigers, elephants, leopards and the like.
“Natural Selection encompasses the beauty, majesty and magnificence of incredibly rare animals,” he writes in the impressive catalogue. "Their threatened existence and battle for survival hangs in the balance, where natural camouflage is no longer a reliable defence, leaving them vulnerable and exposed.
“The collection explores these dynamics, through the violent, expressive movement and abstracted patination of oil paint and watercolour. Large scale installations and contemporary execution will aim to challenge the viewer to reassess this subject matter in our modern world. Where once we would hunt these subjects for display trophies, now we must face the fact that our impact upon them is threatening their survival.”
It’s nice to see such an in-demand contemporary painter creating a body of work that is urgent but not necessarily on-trend and his work is a forceful reminder that our environmental ennui is a zero-sum game.
Natural Selection is at The Hospital Club from June 22 to July 7.