Albion: Exclusive Interview with Dave White
Here we are, on the imminent reveal of your newest collection ‘Albion’, how are you feeling about it?
I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this collection over the last six months. It has taken me on a really interesting journey as there is a beauty and fragility in the subject matter. It is the polar opposite of the last topic that I explored, being Great White sharks. This has demanded a refinement and subtlety, balanced with the expressive application of the media. Like anything new, it is up to the viewer to decide, but the intent is the message of vulnerability of our surroundings, which is the most important aspect of this exhibition for me.
What can we expect from the new collection?
The collection is composed of brand new original oil paintings, watercolour works and limited edition prints, of British animals and birds, many of which are on the endangered list here. I wanted to take things that are small and fragile and drastically enlarge them. Plumage and camouflage, pattern and colour offer a very abstract and beautiful arrangement when viewed up close.
For example, a 5ft Red Squirrel could be almost comical, but actually the challenge was to present it’s character with the use of impasto and expressive qualities. The works really explore this upon scrutiny. I wanted to celebrate the beauty and abstraction of our English landscape, celebrating the iconic and even the not so rare creatures that conjure up our image of British wildlife.
Going back to the beginning then, what was it that inspired you to start working on this totally new subject matter? Was there a moment, a flash of inspiration, which got you thinking?
I live in Dorset and have done for a few years now, and am surrounded by a good number of the animals and birds in the show. I get to view them up close daily which is a very rare privilege. The animation and dynamism of animals is something I have always been fascinated by. I had been toying with completely contrasting the Apex predator series and it all fell into place. As soon as I made the Rabbit portrait I knew it would work.
Whilst the Apex series continues internationally, I love the idea of taking my work to the polar opposite, surprising both viewers and myself alike. I enjoy the challenge of taking a traditional subject matter and executing the works in a modern way. Many contemporary artists dare to visit classic realms and break boundaries in both style and execution, it is probably one of the most challenging things to do as a painter. I love walking the tightrope between styles and topics, to take on this subject was totally intentional. If I am going to support the conservation cause, what better place to start than at home?
So talk us through what Albion means to you – what’s been going through your mind in creating the series?
Albion is an old word describing Britain and conjures up days gone by. Many have us have experienced the steady and tragic decline of animals and birds in the UK, sparrows, hedgehogs, owls to name a few are all things that are headed for extinction in our lifetime, which I find incredibly sad.
I’ve said it before, but we’re all so engaged in technology and information, social media and the likes. The pace of life in 2014 is insane and we sometimes totally forget these things exist along side us.
What’s been your favourite element of the collection so far?
I am incredibly critical of my work and have a very intense relationship with every piece, I don’t think about painting when I paint and only know I’ve finished when my hand slows down. I am aware that there is nowhere else to put a mark and also conscious of time once again. I am only as good as the last piece that I make and then once completed, I move onto the next.
Which medium have you enjoyed working with most for Albion?
I’ve been on my journey as an Artist for over 20 years and personally I never stop pushing and refining what I do. The past 5 years I returned to using watercolour, which is the complete opposite of using oil paint. However, I have pushed both to the limit, enabling the media to replicate each other’s qualities, which I have loved exploring. Some elements of my work and style have been turned down and others turned up. There is a life and spontaneity in both media, which replicates the dynamism and life of the subject matter perfectly.
And what’s your vision for the new series? What do you hope people take from it and where do you want it to go?
I have always explored movement in my work and there are a couple of pieces in the show, which I think have refined this, the Flying Sparrow and Running Hare. I really want to push these on a massive scale, maybe even doing a whole exhibition, so watch this space!
When you hear ‘classic British heritage’ what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
I actually think of cars when I hear that phrase, E Type Jag or an Aston Martin DB4 in British Racing Green!
Finally, and most importantly, what are you most excited about in releasing the new work?
We are producing some incredible limited edition prints for the show, The Diamond Dust Golden Eagle and beautiful box set are looking stunning. Quality is of utter importance for me and everything is made by the best studios, using the finest materials.
Dave White's brand new collection Albion launches with Loughran Gallery on October 9th and will continue through until October 25th. To register your interest in the show and the works, sign up to our mailing list or email us at [email protected]