Kit White: Devolution of the Modernist Field



Copy, Kit White's painting from his recent show at Andre Zarre in Chelsea

Copy, Kit White’s painting from his recent show at Andre Zarre in Chelsea









Unforgiving arrangements on a nostalgia laden landscape of desolation march through Kit White’s new series of paintings. Less a field of potential than one of ruin. Yet, wait, could this be a cleaned slate ready for action? Naw. That doubt is the confounding posed in White’s potent exhibition at Andre Zarre which closed on Saturday.

That I saw it almost in the last hour of the last day seems apt. These works occupy the urgent last hour in psychic time. White’s comment on the contemporary condition, a society rent by struggle, some fenced in, others fenced out; or his own disappointment in the loss of late modernist precepts, we are unsure. The evidence of tracings — Guston ink drawings come to mind — now after-images, faint, hovering in the past, rudimentary leavings, ideas of architecture, too, they are barely present, like the itch of memory of a memory at the back of the mind, annoying but without the satisfaction of a precise recall.   Covering the fades are awkward, left-handed detritus of the new forbidding age.   Whether documentary film footage of the camps or a riff on that worn out trope “mark making,” White doesn’t blink and has it all here owned by his eye and his steadfast refusal to use his extraordinarily sensitive touch of his earlier work. Only one blush of pink, on one painting [above], a faintly rosy cloud, a smear of paint, remains. Good news? Or the last dancing ions of the bomb?